Alarm only raised hours after girl went missing

2010-11-11 07:15

The alarm was only raised hours after a deaf and mute girl with the mental capacity of a two-year-old went missing from a school in Cape Town on Tuesday, the school said.

Deputy principal of Noluthando School for the Deaf in Khayelitsha, Clive Bester, said: “The teacher’s aid who took the children off the bus and into the classroom went back for the girl but could not find her on the bus she thought the girl had followed the group [of learners] into the classroom. She did not communicate this to the class teacher and the girl was marked absent.

“It was raining that day and it was her second day at the school. We have learned that the rain disturbs this learner and when she’s unsure of something she just stands there but if someone calls her then she will go with them.”

Lumka Lengisi (17) was last seen in the school bus on the school premises on Lansdowne Road on Tuesday morning.

Lengisi is a black girl, 1.5m tall, deaf and mute. She was last seen wearing a navy-blue skirt, a white blouse, and a navy-blue long-sleeved jersey.

Bester said the bus driver had seen Lengisi get off the bus.

“The driver came back to fetch the children at 1pm and asked where Lengisi was. He makes a mental note every day of the children on the bus. He told his transport manager that Lengisi had been on the bus in the morning.”

The school was notified and a search for the girl began. Shortly after that the police were called.

Police spokesperson Captain Anneke van der Vyver said police had been working around the clock to try to find the girl.

They had done a door-to-door search in the Khayelitsha area last night asking residents if they had seen the girl.

“We had a photo created by the police of what she looks like now because the only photo the mother has of the girl is when she was eight years old.

“We also started doing patrols with search and rescue dogs on the day she went missing.”

She said organisations such as The Pink Ladies and Missing Children SA were also involved in the search.

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