DNA test results: Is Pretoria homeless man missing Dennis Hayes?

By Marelize Potgieter
01 August 2017

Dennis Hayes (then 22) was last seen 31 years ago when he disappeared without a trace while on his way to a job interview.

The DNA test results are in for Pretoria man who went missing 31 years ago

The homeless man from Pretoria is indeed Dennis Hayes.

“DNA results – It’s a positive match between the siblings Desiree Haynes and Francois Venter (or rather Dennis Haynes).”

That is what was posted onto the Facebook page Bring Dennis Home on Tuesday morning.

Although the family and their loved ones were overjoyed, the Dennis’ mother, Rina Smit (77), wanted to know what all the fuss was about.

“He was always my son, I never had any doubt, my heart only hurts because he hurts and I can’t take his pain away,” read Desiree Haynes’ Facebook post which described her mother’s reaction to the happy news.

Dennis Hayes (then 22) was last seen 31 years ago when he disappeared without a trace while on his way to a job interview.

YOU reported in June this year that one morning in February 1986 Dennis was dropped off on the N1 outside of Bloemfontein to catch a lift to a job interview in Roodepoort.

“You won’t believe how relieved we are,” Nadine Smal, a family friend, told YOU via telephone after the DNA test results were released.

Dennis’s sister, Desiree (43), from Bloemfontein, started looking for her brother again this year after a photo of him surfaced on Facebook.

One eagle-eyed observer compared the photo of the missing Dennis of Bloemfontein to a picture posted by the organisation Mense Gee Om (People Care), which feeds homeless people in the Pretoria North area.

The uncanny resemblance proved to be the breakthrough in the decades-old case.

The man who could possibly have been Dennis was reunited with Rita, but they pair still needed to wait 22 days for the results of a DNA test to confirm that he was indeed her missing son.

Nadine says that they are all relieved because the Facebook group Bring Dennis Home has received so much criticism in the past few weeks.

“Every day there are more things that happen that make me realise that this is my child, I’m not even concerned with DNA tests,” Rina recently told Nadine.

-Husigenoot

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