Plight to find woman who vanished 18 years ago after leaving toddler with her neighbour

Charlotte Japies is being sought after 18 years. supplied image

Charlotte Japies is being sought after 18 years. supplied image

Published Apr 29, 2023


A woman who left Dysselsdorp 18 years ago for work opportunities as a domestic and left her three-year-old daughter in the care of her neighbour is being sought by the family who raised the child.

Charlotte Japies made her way to Cape Town after being offered domestic work and had left her three-year-old daughter in the care of Rachel Rondganger.

Rondganger’s daughter, Maselien Smith, who still lives in Dysselsdorp, began her quest three years ago after the woman’s child turned 18 and was in need of an identity document.

The child is now 21 and is completing her matric and may not be identified due to sensitivity.

She has now moved to Willowmore to live with her mother’s family.

Smith said as they had become family to the 21-year-old, she had a longing to find her mother, who had not made contact in over 17 years.

“She left for work, and she called the neighbour’s landline about three times as she was the one who had a phone, and we never heard from her again, and she never sent any money for her child,” she explained.

“She left the child in the care of my mother, and she also left her eldest daughter in the care of a relative.

“My mother is alive but an old woman now.”

Smith said she began searching on Facebook when the child turned 18.

“I needed her consent and signature and her documents as the child needed her Identity book, and I made an appeal on Facebook and even searched on there,” she added.

This year, she approached the organisation Track n Trace, who confirmed, according to data of Home Affairs, that Japies is still very much alive.

“We know that she is alive, and we are doing this for her daughter,” she added.

“The time she came to Dysselsdorp, her partner who was living in Upington had died, and the child had been born in the Northern Cape.”

Chaz Thomas of Track n Trace confirmed that, according to records, the woman was still alive.

“We are assisting the family, and we have told Smith that Japies is not deceased,” she stated.

Weekend Argus