Child snatched at shopping mall

2011-06-06 08:48

 Cape Town – A distraught mother has spent all weekend looking in vain for her daughter.

“We are just hoping that the police find her and that she is fine. We put our faith in God that she will come back and be safe,” said Landy Christoffels, 36, mother of Chanté Christoffels, 3.

Chanté was kidnapped on Friday afternoon while her mother and father, Cedrick Julisen, 54, looked after cars in the parking lot of the Bellville City Centre shopping mall.

Both parents live in Blikkiesdorp in Delft.

“I just went to the bathroom and when I got out, she was gone,” said Chanté’s mother yesterday at the Bellville police station. “I wanted to take her in with me but she was busy eating a packet of chips and wanted to stay and play.”

When she got back, her child was gone. She found out from others that Chanté had at first gotten up to play with another toddler.

A woman apparently approached her and offered in Afrikaans to buy her some yoghurt.

Christoffels said she and her husband didn’t know the woman, but they had noticed her before.

The woman, known only as “Straatloper” (Streetwalker), is between 30 and 35 years old, about 1.65m tall, of strong build and had a light skin.

“Her nickname comes from her walking the streets, as they say. We think she works as a prostitute. When I couldn’t find them, I wondered where this woman could go with my child?” said a distraught Christoffels.

Footage from the CCTV cameras at Bellville City Centre shopping mall shows how the woman, in a headscarf, denim skirt and dark jersey with a colourful collar, simply walked away with Chanté.

Both seemed calm and unhurried and not in any rush.

They even went to the bathroom before disappearing.

Chanté’s parents don’t have a photograph of her, but police were composing an identikit of her last night.

“She is very lively but she won’t talk to just anyone,” said her mother. “She also won’t take something that doesn’t belong to her.”

Chanté was wearing dark blue corduroy pants, with grey and black jersey, white takkies and pink socks.

She has light skin, is of slight build, and has dark eyes and straight black hair.

On Friday her hair was tied up in a bun with a blue bubble elastic.

Her parents also pointed out that she has a dark birthmark under her left eye and on her right foot.

The police’s Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) in Bellville is investigating a case of kidnapping.

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