Assaulted poacher mysteriously missing for seven years

Poacher Derren Taljaard, of Hout Bay, has been missing for seven years. Picture: Supplied

Poacher Derren Taljaard, of Hout Bay, has been missing for seven years. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 14, 2023


Cape Town - The family of a poacher who was assaulted after a diving deal and disappeared mysteriously seven years ago has not given up their quest to find him and believes he may have been kidnapped.

Derren Taljaard was 32 when he went missing from the Hout Bay community.

This month, Taljaard’s parents approached Track n Trace Missing Persons Unit to assist them with the case.

Jeremy Carelse of Track n Trace has begun the search with police, forensics and local mortuaries, including speaking to witnesses to find out what happened to Taljaard on August 2, 2016.

Taljaard had been diving with a group of seven men and brought to the surface crayfish and perlemoen.

Taljaard had been assaulted and did not receive payment for his catch and would later be assaulted and vanish without a trace,

His father, Ferren Taljaard, told the “Weekend Argus”, he had been a fisherman at the time of the disappearance and received the news when he returned home.

“I was at sea and when I came back home she informed me that my son was missing, that he had left with a man and was never seen again,” he said.

“We reported him missing soon after that, but we have received no help from them.”

Carelse said he began interviewing relatives and visited the police station to find out what transpired on the day Taljaard went missing.

What he discovered made him realise that Taljaard was possibly kidnapped.

“He was a poacher and was known for diving for crayfish and perlemoen,” said Carelse.

“We understand he had been assaulted after the diving incident and had returned to his girlfriend’s home and showed her that he had been attacked.

“He left from there with a man but was never seen again.

“When I visited the police station and saw the docket, it was empty and did not have information about any persons who could be persons of interest.

“This could be a kidnapping or maybe he left Hout Bay because he did not want to bring danger to his family’s door.”

Carelse said he would now visit local mortuaries to check on unidentified bodies, including reviewing the hospital records if he was possibly treated medically.

“The brother later found his fishing knife in the possession of an individual. Why did he have his knife?” he said.

Police spokesperson Captain Frederick van Wyk said their team had exhausted all means to find the missing man but had received no new information.

“This office can confirm that the missing person, Derren Taljaard, was reported at Hout Bay police station,” he said.

“All leads were followed up.

“The person is still missing.

“If anyone has further information, report it to Hout Bay police.”