Cape Town - Two young women who ran away from home and were missing for six days have apologised for wasting everyone’s time.
Aneekah Ismail, 23, of Athlone told police: “We acted irresponsibly and caused so much concern. We are truly sorry.”
She and her 16-year-old friend Kelly Moses, of Eastridge, Mitchells Plain, disappeared last Thursday while fetching Moses’s end of term report from Oval North High School in Beacon Valley.
They were driving in Ismail’s purple Ford Fiesta.
Their disappearance caused a frenzy on Facebook, and massive searches were launched, with Mitchells Plain residents even scouring Wolfgat Nature Reserve after a tip-off that their bodies had been dumped there.
It’s since emerged that the two had sent SMS messages to their families saying they were fine.
The two were found “safe and sound” on Tuesday, visiting a family friend in Worcester.
The Daily Voice has learnt they were collected by Ismail’s father just before heading out to Beaufort West.
He admitted that his daughter and her young friend had gone on a “joyride” and had acted “very irresponsibly”.
“We are thankful that both returned safe and unharmed,” he said.
The families thanked everyone who supported them during this trying time.
Mitchells Plain police spokesman Ian Williams also gave Ismail and Moses a stern talking to, saying they had wasted valuable police resources.
He told Cape Times: “We want to inform them that running away from home is not a solution to solve your problems.
“Rather talk to an adult or someone that you trust that can help you to address the issue.”
He added that police had counsellors available for anyone needing help.
Meanwhile, the Pink Ladies director Dessie Rechner warned adults who disappear and take children with them face criminal charges if minors are at risk.
Rechner urged the girls and their families to reveal the truth behind the disappearance.
“They must stop telling lies and say what they did because the anger gets pulled on to us, but we cannot say anything because protocol doesn’t allow it,” she says.
“The suffering the parents go through, the exhaustion and the heartache, and resources of the police, do they not think of that? Are they so self-centred and show five minutes of remorse to do it again?”