Family pleads with missing teen as search continues

2014-01-15 00:00

A TEENAGE girl who was kidnapped four years ago is missing again.

Jennifer Nzimande — a pupil at the Heritage Academy in Pietermaritzburg — ran away from her parents’ upmarket home in Hillcrest Park on Thursday.

Despite being an adult at 19 years, and despite no foul play suspected in the missing persons case opened, a high-level search was being co-ordinated. It was directed from the office of Hillcrest’s station commander, Colonel Thandeka Mbele, with senior detectives making reports on cellphone traces in Pinetown, and a relative being comforted in the office.

France Mkhize, spokesperson for the Hillcrest SAPS, said, “What makes her parents more alarmed about her disappearance is that in 2009 she was kidnapped, allegedly by a domestic worker who was employed by her parents. She was then found in C section, KwaMashu after a frantic search which took three days.”

Mthethwa said judgment in the kidnapping trial was due at the end of this month — and is worried that this might “needlessly” be a factor keeping Nzimande in hiding.

She added, “We are so grateful for how the police have responded so energetically for Jennifer; they’ve been amazing”.

Meanwhile, Nzimande’s mother, Judith, was hospitalised on Sunday with a stress-related condition as a result of her worry, said Mbele.

Nzimande’s aunt, Philisiwe Mthethwa (43), told The Witness, “We want Jennifer to know she should come home so her family can care for her; she should know that her parents are completely fine with the issue she’s worried about. They just want her safely home.”

When last seen by her parents, Nzimande was wearing black jeans, a black T-shirt, and purple All-Star sneakers.

Her father, Greg, an engineer, has been scouring the roads, according to Mthethwa. “We even chased a taxi thinking she was on board.”

She said Nzimande is “a very smart girl with a wide range of interests”, and is known to hang out at the Peacock hair salon in downtown Hillcrest.

Yesterday, detectives traced a signal to a cellphone that Nzimande is thought to be using to “within 100 metres” of the phone in a residential area of New Germany, but could get no closer.

Mbele said runways did not have to be children for police to become involved. “People have said to me, ‘Why are you so worried about a person who is over 18 and who left home voluntarily?’ But we have seen these cases end tragically too many times, with emotions running high. In fact, we no longer have waiting times before missing person cases can be reported.”

Mbele said networking organisation SA CAN was also assisting, and that records showed Nzimande read a Whats­App message at 1:05 am yesterday morning, but had not responded.

Anyone with information should call Lieutenant-Colonel Greg Joseph at 079 500 0316, or 031 765 9123. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.