Pietermaritzburg police who pulled out all the stops to find abducted Mpiloh Ngwenya (6) on Friday have been hailed as heroes for bringing him home in just over two hours.
The Witness has established that the clue that led police to the kidnapped child was a drunk driving arrest a week earlier.
Mpiloh was snatched from his home in Prestbury on Friday afternoon but fortunately was back with his family the same night.
On Sunday, Mpiloh’s parents said they cannot thank police enough for finding their son and returning him home safely, saying their gratitude “cannot be measured”.
Still dressed in his pre-school uniform, Mpiloh was snatched on Friday afternoon while playing in the yard of his family’s complex with other children.
A man in a black Honda with a dent on the right side door allegedly entered the complex on the pretext of dropping off a gardener to whom he had given a lift.
Once inside he lured Mpiloh to the car with a R10 note.
When the boy was next to the car the man grabbed Mpiloh and sped off.
Neighbours chased after the car but lost sight of him after a few hundred metres.
A police source said police rushed to the scene and immediately started taking statements in the hopes of tracking the car down.
The source said while everyone was at the station, another policeman walked in and said the car used to abduct Mpiloh had been involved in a drunk driving incident the previous week.
“We found the docket from the previous incident and then got an address,” said the source.
“The police arrived at his house to find the man’s wife at home with their one-month-old baby.” The woman said her husband was not at home.
The source said the wife called her husband at the request of police and the man told her that he was near Hulamin.
“The wife continued to call him and eventually he said he was lost and he had pulled over.
“As the police drove into Edendale they found the man parked in his car with Mpiloh in it.”
The source said Mpiloh was very frightened and was crying when police took him from the car.
“When police told him he was going to see his dad, you could just see the relief on his face and he calmed down.”
In just over two hours, police had arrived at the scene, interviewed witnesses and tracked down the man who had abducted Mpiloh, and delivered the boy safely back to his parents.
Mpiloh’s father, Sandile Ngwenya, said his son seemed to have calmed down since his traumatic ordeal and was starting to play in the garden and climb trees again.
Ngwenya said they had not spoken to Mpiloh about the kidnapping as they were advised to leave that up to professionals.
“It is every parent’s worst nightmare to have their child abducted,” said Ngwenya.
“It could have turned out a million different ways and I do not even want to think of the possibilities,” he said.
“The police were absolutely amazing. They were brilliant and the feeling of having our son safely returned to us cannot be described.
“We are so grateful for the police and their quick work, it cannot be measured. We cannot thank them enough,” said Ngwenya. He added that the community and the police did a superb job and their quick work ensured the safety of his son.