Joshlin Smith fourth accused says she told police everything

Published Mar 19, 2024


Cape Town - The fourth suspect linked to the disappearance of Joshlin Smith, 32-year-old Lourentia Lombaard, made a confession to the police, the Vredenburg Magistrate’s Court has heard.

Lombaard made her first court appearance after she was arrested on Friday, charged with kidnapping and trafficking in persons for the purpose of exploitation.

The slightly-built woman walked into the dock on Monday and showed no emotion.

She looked back at the public gallery and said: “I told the whole truth, I told them everything.”

The State revealed that Lombaard had made a confession to the police, but didn’t give details.

Saldanha Bay residents said on Monday that they accepted Lombaard’s confession, but wanted to know where the 6-year-old was. Lombaard is known to Joshlin’s mother, Kelly.

She told the court she wanted to make use of a Legal Aid lawyer. She was the fifth person arrested in the case.

On March 5, the police arrested Smith, Jacquen Appolis, Steveno Rhyn and Phumza Sigaqa on charges of human trafficking and kidnapping.

The State withdrew the charges against Sigaqa due to lack of evidence.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila, said: “Lourentia Lombaard appeared at the Vredenburg Magistrate’s Court. The 32-year-old woman is charged with trafficking in persons for the purpose of exploitation and kidnapping.

“She is charged in connection with the disappearance of Joshlin. Her case has been postponed until March 25 for bail information.”

Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagen Allen welcomed Lombaard’s arrest.

“This shows that the SAPS is diligently continuing with the investigation into young Joshlin Smith.

“Along with the other three suspects, which includes the 6-year-old’s mother, they should urgently provide the relevant information about Joshlin’s whereabouts so that she may safely be reunited with her siblings and extended family.

“We’ve reached a critical stage in the investigation and it is important that speculation and hearsay come to an immediate end.

“I encourage anyone with information to make it available to the SAPS, so that all leads are followed up. We have to find Joshlin unharmed.

“Our stance is clear, that interference and blocking the investigation, any form of intimidation or the politicisation of this matter will not be tolerated. Our sole focus should be to find Joshlin.”

Outside court, a few Diazville residents said Lombaard’s arrest came as no surprise.

Diego Dietdricks said: “I’m not shocked that Lourentia was charged, she had been the suspect since day one. We could hear all the stories that were going around in the community. We went to her house one time, and we could see her body language was off, and she was stuttering.

“What we were told was that she asked Joshlin to go and check on her child at her place and then she followed Joshlin and that was the last time she was ever seen.

“Even though she denied it, we are happy now that she has confessed – it means that she was also part of this.”

Joshlin, a Grade 1 learner at Diazville Primary, went missing a month ago from her Diazville home.

According to her mother, she left Joshlin, her eldest daughter, in the care of her boyfriend Appolis and when she returned home, Joshlin wasn’t there.

Since her disappearance, residents, politicians and the police have combed the area, searching for clues that may lead to the girl’s whereabouts.

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Cape Argus