Joslin Smith disappearance: South African mother and boyfriend charged with trafficking

  • By Farouk Chothia
  • BBC News, Johannesburg

Image source, Mayor André Truter/ Facebook

Image caption,

A reward of 100,000 rand ($5,200; £4,100) has been offered to anyone with information on Joslin’s whereabouts

The mother of a six-year-old girl who has been missing in South Africa since February 19 has been charged with human trafficking and kidnapping.

Kelly Smith was charged along with her boyfriend Jacquen Appollis and two others after their arrest.

Ms Smith’s daughter, Joslin, disappeared outside her home in Saldanha Bay, near Cape Town.

The four suspects appeared in court but were not asked to plead in a case that has left South Africans on edge.

The prosecution alleges that Ms Smith instructed Mr Appollis and another suspect, Stefano van Rhyn, to sell Joslin to a traditional healer for 20,000 rand ($1,000; £835), the private Citizen newspaper reported.

In South Africa, a child goes missing every five hours, but most are found.

Joslin has not yet been located, despite a large-scale search involving the navy, drones and sniffer dogs.

On Saturday, investigators found bloodied clothing in an open field in the area where Joslin disappeared more than a fortnight ago.

Ms Smith and her co-accused are in custody until March 13, when they are due to appear in court again. They all said they would apply for legal aid.

Mrs Smith had previously told local publication The Daily Voice that she had not given up hope of finding her daughter after she disappeared outside their home in an informal settlement.

“My motherly instinct tells me that my daughter is alive and in this area. We will find her, I will walk to find her. I will look in every little hut, I will do it alone if I have to. “

In the days following the girl’s disappearance, panicked community members searched drains and wells. Saldanha Bay Mayor André Truter said an angry mob had raided homes and accosted neighbors looking for the child.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts will receive a R100,000 reward.

She was left in the care of Mr. Appollis when she went missing.

He has previously denied his involvement in her disappearance.

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