Amy-Lee de Jager, the daughter of a South African speedboat star, was kidnapped as she was dropped at school in the town of Vanderbijlpark on the morning of Sept. 2, according to local reports, and dragged off with enough force to leave her mother with a shoulder injury as she fought in vain.
The kidnappers had reportedly demanded a 2 million rand ($130,000) ransom.
After a desperate campaign to find the 6-year-old that flooded the media and social media, the South African Police Service (SAPS) reported on Sept. 3 that the 6-year-old had been found.
“Amy was found this morning and she is undergoing a medical examination at a local hospital,” said the SAPS statement.
Her family members told the TimesLIVE that she hadn’t been hurt by the ordeal.
“The people dropped her off in the streets and a woman and a man heard her crying and rushed her to the police station,” her aunt, Louise Horn, told TimesLIVE.
“Everything is OK, she wasn’t harmed.”
“It was the longest 19 hours of our lives. We are really glad she’s back with us.”
In contradiction to earlier reports, according to Horn, no ransom was paid.
Once the 6-year-old had been reunited with her parents, according to Horn, “the first thing she asked for was a burger and her brother.”
Her parents were traumatized and heartbroken, said Horn. “It’s going to be a long road of recovery for all of them.”
Amy-Lee de Jager’s grandfather Martin Brouwer told Eyewitness News that they were overwhelmed that she was finally home.
“She’s safe and unharmed. The suspects are still at large, there’s still stuff going on.”
The College Park Primary School, where she had been snatched outside the gates, wrote in a statement: “Amy-Lee has been found. Thank you for everyone’s help and prayers. We serve a great and almighty God.”
Amy'Leigh is gevind. 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏Dankie vir almal se hulp en gebede. Ons dien ñ Groot en Almagtige God❤️(Nog geen verdere inligting is deurgegee nie.)
As news of her abduction spread, a massive campaign flooded social media with pictures of the 6-year-old, as missing person organizations, the media, family, and school encouraged users to spread them online.
Wonderful news! Amy Lee de Jager had been found safe. No further information is available at this stage and a statement…
A police source told the Mirror that she had become “too hot to handle” for the kidnappers. “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.”
The police confirmed in their statement that they were investigating the alleged kidnapping.
“The investigation into her disappearance and sudden reappearance is still ongoing. It is our appeal that this investigation be allowed to take its course,” said SAPS.