Clothing items found not Joshlin Smith’s

Joshlin Smith has been missing since Monday, February 19. Picture: Supplied

Joshlin Smith has been missing since Monday, February 19. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 8, 2024


Cape Town - With still no positive leads yet on missing Joshlin Smith’s whereabouts, Police Minister Bheki Cele said bloody clothing items found in Saldanha Bay were confirmed not to be hers.

Today marks 42 days since Joshlin was reported missing.

Cele said even though four people were behind bars, including the 6-year-old’s mother, Racquel “Kelly” Smith, police were no closer to finding her.

Weeks after her disappearance, police found bloody clothing items suspected to be Joshlin’s, but Cele confirmed in a TV interview that the DNA results proved negative.

“Unfortunately, the DNA on the pieces of clothing that were found didn’t indicate that those clothes belonged to Joshlin.

“When it came back from the laboratory it came back negative.”

He said they were not only searching in the country for the Grade 1 learner at Diazville Primary, but had gone beyond South Africa’s borders.

“The police have been working with their sister organisation, we have expanded the net. I know that more than a week ago, a ship was searched in London as there was information that she could have been on that one. It took about two-and-a-half days to search the ship.

“I would like to thank the community of Saldanha Bay for standing united, when I visited the area, everyone agreed that the child must be found. Four suspects have been arrested but they have not given us (information) where the child is.”

On March 5, the police arrested Smith, her boyfriend Jacquen Appollis, Steveno van Rhyn and Phumza Sigaqa for human trafficking and kidnapping.

One of them allegedly told cops that Joshlin was sold for R20 000.

Sigaqa was released due to a lack of evidence and a few days later Lourentia Lombaard was arrested.

According to Smith, she left her sick daughter in the care of Appollis on February 19, and when she returned home from work, Joshlin was gone. She went to report her missing the following day.

Lombaard abandoned her right to apply for bail.

State prosecutor Jacques van Zyl told the court Lombaard had confessed, but didn’t give details. In court, Lombaard told the people in the public gallery that she “told police everything”.

The four accused were expected back in court on May 13.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said more arrests were imminent and charges would be added.