Girl, 2, found after kidnap
Private investigator tracks down ‘kidnapper’ to tavern in Kwelera
Toddler Kamvalethu “Kamva” Ncwadi, 2, who was snatched from the doorstep of her home in Southernwood more than two weeks ago, has been reunited with her family.
East London police spokes-person Captain Hazel Mqala confirmed a woman of 21 had been arrested on kidnapping charges and would appear in the East London magistrate’s court on Thursday.
Mqala said the motive behind the kidnapping was still unknown to police.
Kamva was playing on the verandah of her family’s home in St Peters Road on the afternoon of December 16 when she was taken by a woman who has been identified only as Asiphe by witnesses.
The toddler was found in the early hours of New Year’s Day inside an RDP home in Mzamomhle township in Gonubie, where she was lying under piles of blankets, her tiny body covered with sores and dirt under her nails.
The toddler was found thanks to the efforts of veteran private investigator Leon Nel, who frantically searched local taverns to find the woman, who was said to be a patron at a number of drinking holes around East London.
Nel had earlier circulated a picture of the woman that he had screen-grabbed from one of the taverns’ CCTV cameras.
“The photo was positively identified by the two witnesses who helped me with finding the suspect,” he said.
At 11.50pm on New Year’s Eve, Nel received a call from an informer who said he was looking at the suspect at that very moment. He was at a tavern in Kwelera.
“I was sitting at home when the call came through. At the time I was praying to God to help us find Kamva. I told the informer to keep his eyes on her,” Nel told the Daily Dispatch on Wednesday.
“I informed the detectives assigned to the case, but there was no response from them. Luckily I had made some friends in the East London Dog Unit and they came out with me to where the suspect was.”
The woman – who was arrested at the tavern in Tuba Location – led Nel, the K9 unit officers and Kamva’s father, Paul Mayekisa, to the house where the toddler was found.
Nel said three adults were at the house, but they denied there was a child in the house.
However, the property was searched and Kamva was found.
Speaking to the Daily Dispatch, Mayekisa said he felt a huge sense of relief as he held his little girl again.
“Inside the house where we found her it was dark and we were using a torch for light.
“I saw her under the blankets and picked her up. When she heard my voice she started crying and cried even louder when she saw my face.
“It was as if she could not believe that she was in her father’s arms. I could not believe it either because we have read stories where kids who are abducted are never found or are found dead,” said Mayekiso.
On Wednesday the Dispatch visited Kamva at her grandmother’s home in Mdantsane. Kamva and her cousin, also 2, came jumping out of her grandmother’s kitchen door, and the little girl’s face lit up in a smile when she saw Nel.
“She slept well, but now and then she stares into space and cries. We have taken her for medical tests and no harm was done to her, except for the sores she developed on her body,” said her grandmother, Nomsa Mayekiso. Nomsa said she and Kamva’s parents had decided the little one would stay with her for while.
During the two-hour interview, Kamva expressed a number of emotions: one moment she would burst into laughter, the next she would appear agitated.
Nel said he could not divulge the motive behind the kidnapping yet as the matter was in court. “All I can say is when I interviewed the witnesses and the family, I knew this case was solvable. I knew Kamva would be found and indeed she was.”..