Herolds Bay tragedy: Search for daughter downscaled as no new clues surface - report

Ettienne and Heidi Scheepers with their children. (Ettienne Scheepers via Facebook)
Ettienne and Heidi Scheepers with their children. (Ettienne Scheepers via Facebook)

Southern Cape police say the search for six-year-old Cozette Scheepers in Herolds Bay has been scaled back, according to Netwerk24. 

Cozette, her mother, Heidi, and two-year-old brother Hugo were reported missing last Tuesday when they failed to return home.

A massive search was launched and tracks were found near a cliff at Voëlklip in the area. A passer-by had alerted the police that there was a vehicle at the bottom of the cliff. 

The wreckage of the VW Caravelle they were travelling in was later recovered and Hugo's body was the first to be found.

READ: Herolds Bay tragedy | Mom and son died as a result of drowning, say police as painstaking search for daughter continues

On Tuesday, police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie confirmed to News24 that Heidi and Hugo had drowned.

On Friday, Pojie told Netwerk that while the search for Cozette had been scaled back, sporadic patrols would continue.

"The search has been scaled back in terms of the number of personnel available as no new clues have surfaced. We will, however, still be conducting sporadic patrols along the coastline and we appeal to the community and fishermen to be vigilant for any debris or objects floating in the ocean.

"Please alert the police immediately. Police divers, NSRI rescuers and EMS search and rescue teams will remain on standby for any eventuality," he said.

Earlier this week, husband and father Ettiene Scheepers spoke out about rumours that were circulating about the tragedy.

"I also did not commit any form of fraud, neither did I have any affairs nor beat my wife and children"

"We are personally and financially sound and our businesses are doing well. We are not in financial plight. I also did not commit any form of fraud, neither did I have any affairs nor beat my wife and children," Scheepers told the George Herald

This after people on social media raised questions after his family went missing. 

Some have questioned whether he had something to do with it, and wondered why he had not gone to the clifftop while the search and rescue team scoured the area in the hopes of finding his wife and children alive.

Scheepers told the publication that his late wife, Heidi, had told him she would not accompany him on a trip to Mozambique the following day with his brother. This was when they had driven to the beach as a family.

His café was short-handed and a consignment was coming in, so he asked if they could discuss it at home when he got back later, and they parted company. 

PICS | Car found at bottom of cliff as search for missing mom, children continues

"We did not have an argument of any kind," Scheepers told the George Herald.

However, he returned to find that nobody was home. He called friends and family in the hopes of locating them as Heidi had not taken her phone with her.

He said she had suffered from a "dip" last year with depression, but was fine after being treated.

Netwerk24 reported that Heidi and Hugo's funeral would be held on November 9. 

- Compiled by Vanessa Banton and Jenni Evans

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