Mass search for missing 7-year-old Joshlin Smith from Saldanha Bay

Saldanha Bay residents rally in Diazville to find missing seven-year-old Joshlin Smith who went missing on Monday. Picture: Patrick Louw

Saldanha Bay residents rally in Diazville to find missing seven-year-old Joshlin Smith who went missing on Monday. Picture: Patrick Louw

Published Feb 22, 2024


Cape Town - Missing 7-year-old Joshlin Smith’s mother said her instinct led her to believe her daughter was still alive.

Joshlin disappeared from her Diazville home in Saldanha Bay on Monday while her mother, Kelly, 33, was at work.

The Grade 1 learner was sick and didn’t attend school when she was left in the care of her mother's boyfriend.

Residents took to the streets to look for her on Tuesday morning, which carried on yesterday, while Kelly went to the police to lodge a missing person’s complaint.

“I was at work when she went missing. My boyfriend said he didn’t know where she went. He is co-operating with the police, as I am. My motherly instincts are telling me my daughter is still alive and is in this area.

“We will find her, I will walk on foot to find her.

“I will look in every little shack, I’m going to do it by myself if I have to. People keep telling me that they saw her with an older boy; I also want to know who that is.

“I am distraught, I’m broken. I don’t know where my child is, I can’t sleep without knowing what is happening with her.”

Joshlin Smith

Police spokesperson Malcolm Pojie confirmed that Joshlin was reported missing at Saldanha police station on Tuesday.

“Preliminary information reveals that Joshlin was left at home on Monday with the mother’s boyfriend to look after her as she was not feeling well. Later that afternoon, when the mother returned from work, her daughter was not home.

“She later got hold of her boyfriend who was supposed to look after the child, but he was unable to account for her whereabouts.

“At the time of Joshlin’s disappearance she was wearing a light blue T-shirt and light blue denim shorts.

“Following the report by her mother, a full-scale search was initiated comprising the investigating officer attached to the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS), visible policing members, Disaster Risk Management personnel and a magnitude of community members.

“The search was postponed late last night (Tuesday) and resumed (yesterday) morning,” said Pojie.

When the Cape Argus arrived in Saldanha Bay yesterday, a group of about 200 people, including mayor André Truter and the Disaster Risk Management team, using drones, were searching for Joshlin.

“There’s no concrete direct evidence except that the girl was last seen on Monday. “After that, she disappeared into thin air,” said Truter.

Mayor Andre Truter

“Disaster Risk Management co-ordinated civilians, councillors, neighbourhood watch members... even businesspeople stepped forward to help find the child.

“There were about 200 people ... the community was really focused, with positive energy,” he said.

Angry residents said they didn’t want the search to be called off, as they wanted to search shacks to find Joshlin.

Anyone with information regarding Joshlin’s whereabouts is requested to contact investigation officer Sergeant Millstine of Vredenburg FCS at 079 879 8588 or Crime Stop at 0860010111.