A six-year-old girl snatched from her mother’s arms outside a school in South Africa has been found alive and unharmed.
Angeline de Jager had just parked her car at the school gates to walk daughter Amy-Lee inside when the four kidnappers in balaclavas struck at 7.40am yesterday.
She was dragged screaming from her distraught mother into a 4×4 which sped off from the school in the town of Vanderbijlpark, an hour’s drive south of Johannesburg.
Shortly afterwards her father Wynand, a F1 powerboat racer, received a mobile call demanding a two million rand ransom (£110,000) for his daughter’s safe release.
A nationwide manhunt was launched, with a private investigator who specialises in tracing missing children drafted in along with hostage negotiators.
Amy-Lee’s aunt Louise Horn today revealed the kidnappers had dumped the distraught girl on a street corner at 2am.
“Everything is okay, she wasn’t harmed. The family is still very heartbroken, but we are just thankful that she is alive,” she said.
“It was the longest 19 hours of our families lives and we are really glad she is back with us.
“The first thing she did after being reunited with her mum and dad was ask for a burger and her brother.” She said no ransom had been paid.
Police believe the kidnappers panicked and realised the little girl was “too hot to handle” following massive publicity over her disappearance.
“Her photo was all over the internet and the news and we think they thought they were better off cutting their losses and ditching Amy-Lee,” a source said.
- Powerboat racer's death a 'tragic accident'
- Balloch powerboat racer at the world championships this weekend
- Karen Matthews is ‘terribly lonely’ ten years after kidnapping daughter Shannon
- Man charged with kidnapping daughter of Ozarks homicide victim
- Kidnapped 6-Year-Old From South Africa Found 19 Hours Later
- Horse trainer killed in high-speed powerboat race crash
- Mother silent after drug gang members rape, murder daughter
- Lincoln man accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting girl found mentally fit for trial
- The Chibok Girls: Survivors of kidnapping by Boko Haram share their stories