Search for missing girl, 3, turns to dump site

2017-05-08 14:15
Neighbours search for Courtney Pieters. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Neighbours search for Courtney Pieters. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - On Monday morning, piles of rubble line the street behind 3-year-old Courtney Pieters' home in Elsie's River.

A soft wind flicks the yellow and blue police tape that has been used to cordon off the stinking makeshift dump site, where a thorough search for the girl is underway.

A neighbour reported a bad smell from the piles of refuse on Sunday and the grim task of donning gloves and sorting through the stinking pile began.

"They found a dead dog," said Ilaam Herman, tying a knot in a thick blue municipal bag as a police helicopter circles low overhead.

Around the corner, in Pluto Street, distraught mother Juanita Pieters tugs at a cigarette, while on the cellphone to niece Celeste Adonis.

Disappearance details

Minutes later, Adonis arrives in slippers and spotted nightgown, her son on her hip.

"I am tired," said Courtney's mother. "I don't want to talk anymore, talk to her," she said, pointing at Adonis.

Four women from the neighbourhood have squeezed into the modest lounge with its bare concrete floor. They go over the details of Courtney's disappearance again.

She was last seen near the cream-coloured double storey semi last Thursday.

"She is a quiet child," said Adonis.

She would speak when she was part of the little posse of friends that ran in and out of each other's houses during the day.

A police car pulls up and Courtney's mom and her dad Aaron are asked to watch CCTV footage they are following up on after a tip-off.

"It's not her. Her body language is different," Aaron said.

New search party

Next door the squeaky strains of "I love you, you love me," fill the air from the crèche children singing the famous Barney the purple dinosaur song.

"Not everybody can afford child care. People have it very hard over here," said another neighbour.

"We must follow up every lead," the investigating officer is heard telling her parents, and more police officers arrive.

Outside, locals are preparing for a door-to-door search.

"There was a very strong prayer meeting as well yesterday," said Community Policing Forum member Margaret Clarke.

"Excuse the way I look, I have not even brushed my hair," said Clarke who has been helping track Courtney down.

A woman with a megaphone starts instructing the newest search party, which hopes to find Courtney safe.

In the meantime, police explain they will check the manholes in the area again.


Read more on:    cape town  |  missing persons

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