PODCAST | MISSING MATTHEW EPISODE 3: Decades of false starts add to a family's despair

 Cape Town family remains hopeful that their son, who disappeared 23 years ago, at the age of nine, will one day be found. In the years that have passed since Matthew Ohlsson disappeared, they have helped countless other families like themselves.
Cape Town family remains hopeful that their son, who disappeared 23 years ago, at the age of nine, will one day be found. In the years that have passed since Matthew Ohlsson disappeared, they have helped countless other families like themselves.
Supplied
  • Missing Children South Africa says a child goes missing in South Africa every five hours.
  • The first 24 hours in a missing persons case are crucial.
  • Police say a case will never be closed until a body or the person is found.

A Cape Town family remains hopeful that their missing son will one day be found.

Nine-year-old Matthew Ohlsson disappeared from outside his Mitchells Plain home on 24 March 1997.

In the years that followed, a spate of other children went missing.

The Ohlsson family started the Concerned Parents of Missing Children in 1999 to help other families like themselves. 

Michelle Ohlsson says the organisation ran successfully for about 10 years but funds eventually dried up.

"You know we had four hundred cases and we solved like three hundred and something. And then it was like, when is it my turn, Lord? What am I doing wrong? Why can't I get my child? And the more we handled cases, we saw the different ways children disappeared".

Missing Children South Africa's Bianca van Aswegen believes the number of children going missing is increasing, and she says human trafficking is also rife.

She says there is a misconception that families must wait 48 hours before reporting a child missing because this is not true.

The first 24 hours are crucial.

Despite it all, Michelle Ohlsson still has hope that Matthew will be found.

"I will never stop looking, I will never stop hoping and I will never stop believing that I will see him one day".

Anyone who has information on the disappearance of Matthew Ohlsson can contact investigating officer Lieutenant Colonel Daliwonga Saki on 082 559 4631.


If you missed episode one or two in this three-part series, you can access them below:

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
How has the delay in schools' opening impacted your life?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
It's a disaster! We're struggling to manage work and kids at home
41% - 2702 votes
It's a struggle, but we learnt lessons from last year's closures
20% - 1278 votes
It's a relief, this second wave is bad and kids need to be at home
39% - 2539 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.22
(+0.24)
ZAR/GBP
20.81
(+0.37)
ZAR/EUR
18.43
(+0.36)
ZAR/AUD
11.59
(+0.85)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(+0.52)
Gold
1842.14
(+0.16)
Silver
25.32
(+0.80)
Platinum
1062.39
(+0.58)
Brent Crude
55.26
(-0.20)
Palladium
2295.00
(+0.69)
All Share
62624.40
(-0.26)
Top 40
57527.80
(-0.20)
Financial 15
11768.71
(-0.49)
Industrial 25
85244.00
(-0.69)
Resource 10
59957.44
(+0.63)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo