Cape Town - Police with sniffer dogs scoured the streets of Ravensmead in search of an 8-year-old girl who went missing at a local tuckshop.
Concerned neighbours joined in the frantic search for Tazne van Wyk.
She was last seen on Friday at a tuckshop a few metres away from her home.
The shopkeeper sold her an ice lolly and watched her walk away. When she did not return after an hour, her father raised the alarm and went to search for her.
“It’s about eight steps from the house to that shop,” said Tazne’s father Terence Manuel. Her distraught mother Carmen van Wyk said as she was walking down Clare Street towards their house on Friday she could sense something was wrong because she could see Manuel frantically searching.
Van Wyk said: “I saw her dad as I got closer to the house and he was standing with his hand on his forehead and I could see he was looking for someone I didn’t know it was my daughter.”
When Manuel told her that soon after Tazne came home from school, she went to the shop and never returned, Van Wyk says she instinctively knew something was wrong and started searching for her little girl.
“I went across the road to check if she wasn’t with her school friend and she wasn’t there.”
Van Wyk said she quizzed her friends about the possibility of Tazne visiting and spending time with other friends unknown to her because the 8-year-old recently started attending a new school.
“She’s usually with friends,” Van Wyk said. “She started a new school this year and her friends are always with her. She’s not a child that goes and sits at houses with friends, she would rather call them and then they come sit here by us.”
As the hours passed by with no sign of Tazne, Van Wyk said after she called nearby family, she called the police because she was desperate to find her daughter. When interviewed by the police, neighbours said a visitor who recently moved in with a family in that street had also disappeared.
This man has now become a person of interest and Van Wyk said his picture has been shared on social media.
“Someone had his number and called him he answered.
“Then put the phone down and now the number just rings,” said Van Wyk.
Van Wyk said witnesses said the child was seen on Friday evening with a man who was carrying a black bag.
In a police statement, Tazne is described as 1.5m tall and slender built.
“Tazne was wearing a white top and red shorts when she went missing.”
She has a small nose and flat ears. The investigation continues.
* Additional reporting by Sam Spiller.