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Police arrest 50-year-old woman for kidnapping newborn over 20 years ago

Everson Luhanga

A woman has been arrested years after she snatched a new born baby the day the mother was discharged from hospital.

The police at Ermelo managed to locate the woman who had not been seen by her family for over two decades, according to Mpumalanga provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Selby Mohlala.

Mohlala said that on 23 March 2001 a woman, aged 16 at the time, gave birth to a baby girl and both were discharged later that day from Ermelo Provincial Hospital.

“As they were on their way home (to Breyten) in the company of the baby’s aunt, they met a certain woman who is said to have offered to assist by holding the baby as her mom was experiencing some pains and dizziness whilst the aunt had visited a shop nearby,” he said in a statement.

After a little while, the suspect woman reportedly took the baby, promised to return, and walked away in the same direction as the aunt.

“The aunt returned but said the woman never did and after searching for the woman and the baby for a while, their attempts were futile.”

He said the incident was reported to the police at Ermelo police station and a case of child abduction was opened.

Police commenced with their search but there was no information that came forth.

The case soon went cold but on 29 November 2021, the team of investigators received a breakthrough lead in the investigation.

“Police conducted some forensic tests where DNA samples were collected and results came back which turned out to be a breakthrough in their case of child abduction.

“A 50-year-old woman was then arrested and charged accordingly as she is alleged to have been the one behind the said incident that occurred 20 years back,” said Mohlala.

The female suspect appeared in the Ermelo Magistrate’s Court on 30 November and she was granted bail of R1,000.

Her case was postponed to 18 January 2021.

Meanwhile, the victim was taken to a place of safety and given psychological support, and will be able to reunite with her biological family in the coming weeks.

Mohlala said police are withholding the suspect’s name for the protection of the victim’s identity.