Police have arrested four people in connection with the six-year-old Joslin Smith’s tragic disappearance two weeks ago

After undergoing a gruelling 36-hour-long police interrogation, two men allegedly confessed to selling Joslin Smith, the missing Saldanha girl, for muti.

Brigadier Novela Potelwa confirmed on Wednesday morning that Western Cape detectives are currently questioning four suspects as part of an extensive investigation into the disappearance of six-year-old Joslin Smith from Diazville in Saldanha Bay on the West Coast.

The investigation saw the team of detectives visiting several places within the West Coast town and interviewing several other persons.

The search for Joslin brought individuals, NGOs, community activists, police officials, neighbourhood watches and representatives from different spheres of government together in the quest to find the missing girl.

For days, they searched identified vast areas in Saldanha Bay.

“It is envisaged that as the investigation unfolds light will be shed as to her whereabouts or what happened to her,” said Potelwa.

The four suspects being interviewed by the team of investigators are two men and two women aged between 26 and 34.

Joslin Smith sold for R20k?

Sources close to the investigation told Netwerk24 that two of the four suspects allegedly confessed to selling Joslin to a Middelpos man for R20,000.

The tragic disappearance of the Laerskool Diazville pupil on 19 February gripped the nation as a massive search operation was launched in the race against time to find the young girl with the sunny smile.

Joslin disappears while in care of mother’s boyfriend

Joslin’s mother, Kelly Smith, reported her daughter as missing 16 days ago. According to her, Joslin was feeling unwell on that fateful Monday, so she thought it best to leave her in the care of her boyfriend, Jacquin “Boeta” Appollis.

When she returned from work that evening, Joslin was nowhere to be found and Appollis told Kelly that he lost track of the girl’s whereabouts after she went outside to play.

Safehouse and allegations of ‘drug debt’

The couple have been accused by some community members of having a hand in little Joslin’s disappearance – a charge they have both denied.

They have consequently been moved to a safehouse for their safety.

Meanwhile, Joslin’s biological father, Jose Emke, told  IOL last week that he suspects his daughter’s disappearance was likely linked to “drug debt” he claims was racked up by her mother and her boyfriend who have both admitted to being tik (crystal meth) users.

Joslin and her mother Kelly Smith.
Photos: YouTube screenshots/ SABC News 

‘I did use tik’

During a conversation between Kelly and Patriotic Alliance (PA) leader Gayton McKenzie, which was shared on Facebook Live on 27 February, Joslin’s mother said that she and Appollis have been clean for a week.

“At this moment, I’m clean. I did use tik. I’ve been clean for a week… I’m honest.”

When asked by McKenzie whether her boyfriend was on tik while he had to take care of Joslin on the day of her appearance, Kelly bluntly answered:

“I wasn’t at home, I don’t know. I can’t answer this question. He has been clean for a week.”

Bloodstained clothing, knives found

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm Pojie confirmed on Sunday that clothing, a sheet and a knife had been found late on Saturday evening in an open field about a kilometre away from the hut where Joslin and her two siblings lived with Kelly and Appollis.

According to Daily Maverick, a reliable source told the publication that forensic tests on the bloodstained clothes revealed that it belonged to Joslin.

Another knife was found planted in the ground in the area on Monday. It is, however, not yet clear whether the knife is connected to the case.

No stone left unturned: SA Navy join search for Joslin Smith

On Monday, Western Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said the search was intensifying.

“The search party has also been bolstered by a contingent from the local South African Navy joining the search and another large group from the City of Cape Town also deployed from Monday to the area.

“The Saldanha Bay Municipality’s firefighters are also playing a pivotal role in the search, applying their expertise in the search,” Potelwa said.

“The South African Police Service has also brought in the services of the mounted unit; more specialised dogs from the K9 Unit are set to scour the identified area. Detectives from the Saps provincial office in Cape Town have since descended on the West Coast town to support the local investigators,” the spokesperson added.

Breakthrough Detectives interrogate suspects for 36 hours

Tuesday’s breakthrough followed the arrival of the detectives from the Serious Violent Crimes Unit, as well as members of the Western Cape police’s kidnappings task force in Middelpos on Sunday.

The detectives took control of the investigation and apparently interrogated the two suspects, as well as another man, non-stop for about 36 hours.

Pointing-out, confessions and court

Throughout Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon, the two men allegedly underwent the pointing-out procedure and discussed their role in the girl’s disappearance.

It remains unclear whether Joslin was still alive when last seen by the suspects.

According to eNCA, the men will appear in court on Thursday, 7 March.

More arrests imminent

Netwerk24 also claimed in its report there are indications that further arrests of people who were also allegedly connected to Joslin’s disappearance, are imminent.

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