Missing toddler's mom had lost all hope of finding her son

2016-03-23 14:01
Samkelo Cele (Photos supplied)

Samkelo Cele (Photos supplied)

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Durban - Thando Cele had given up all hope of seeing her 18-month-old son Samkelo alive, after he had disappeared from her home in Lindelani at the weekend.

But on Tuesday, a four-pawed police officer became Samkelo’s saviour, finding him in dense bush in the township.

Search and Rescue Dog Dante, a 2-year-old German Shepherd, led his handler Clint Odayar to the exact spot where Samkelo sat.

The toddler had been on his own, exposed to the elements, for four days before he was found.

In an interview with News24, Cele told of her desperation in the days after her son had vanished.

"He had been playing with the other children and then he just disappeared. We went to the police station and we printed out pictures of him. We searched everywhere in the area, at the river even… we had lost all hope," she said.

"The dog found him near the house in a hole. He was wearing the same clothes, but he was so dirty.

"We are just so elated that he was found alive. We rushed him to hospital and he was just very tired and hungry."

- Read more: 'God has plans for this child'- cop who found toddler alive in bush

News24 had earlier spoken to Odayar, who had not been expecting to find Samkelo alive.

"In my mind I was preparing myself to find the body of this baby. It was always going to be a body recovery if the child had been lost in the bush for that long, and exposed to the elements,” he added.

"The bush was dense, with a stream running through it and Dante and I had searched an area of about 200m when he indicated. I watched him edge his way into the bush and as I moved behind him, I moved back the grass and saw the child’s eyes staring into mine.

"I think he might have gotten himself in there and then maybe got lost and sat there.

"When I saw him look into my eyes, it touched me. I think God has plans for this child – he kept him alive for that long."

Read more on:    police  |  durban  |  good news

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