Renata Ismail before her disappearance. FILE
Renata Ismail before her disappearance. FILE

Still no leads 22 years after the abduction of Renata Ismail

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Aug 28, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - For 22 years, the abduction and missing persons case of four-year-old Renata Ismail has remained a mystery.

While her mother Heidi Ismail has chosen not to speak about the painful day her daughter vanished, Weekend Argus continues to report on missing persons cases which have turned cold.

Renata vanished from the main bedroom of her home, a block of flats in Sarepta, Kuils River, on March 28, 1999.

According to the mother, at the time she had left the bedroom for five minutes and later noticed an unknown man at the window.

She had left the bedroom to tell a relative what she had seen, and on her return noticed that Renata was missing.

To date there have been no clues or leads about what happened to Renata.

Shortly after the child’s disappearance, Ismail’s husband was involved in an accident and was left in a coma. He is today disabled.

Community leader Dawn Roode told Weekend Argus that they had hosted several vigils and launched search parties to find Renata.

“We had prayer meetings and helped to look for that little girl,” she said.

“We wanted to place her face all over so we could help the police to find her, but she was never found.”

After her son, Matthew Ohlsson, 9, disappeared in Mitchell’s Plain in March 1997, Michelle Ohlsson and her Concerned Parents of Missing Children team joined in the search for Renata.

“It was not one of our cases, but we did help with the search for the child,” she said.

It is unclear what Renata had been wearing on the day she vanished, nor if she had any birthmarks or scars, nor whether there had been an identikit issued of the man Ismail had seen, or if any suspects were questioned.

It is also unclear whether sniffer dogs were called to the scene and if homes in the close vicinity were searched in the hours after Renata vanished.

These are all questions that were put to the South African Police via the Weekend Argus query.

Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said police were continuing to appeal for anyone who had answers or leads to come forward.

“Kindly be advised that the missing person case of Renata Ismail is still under investigation. She has not been found as yet. The search/investigation continues.

“Anyone with any information is kindly requested to contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111,” Van Wyk said.

Weekend Argus

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