abducted boy, 3, found

Ntwaagae Seleka

Ntwaagae Seleka

An Eastern Cape couple will be charged with abduction after a three-year-old boy who went missing in Zastron, Free State, was found in their house.

They were arrested at their home in Sterkspruit, about 60km from Zastron, yesterday. The boy was abducted from his pre-school at about 1pm on Tuesday.

The couple, aged 30 and 28, were arrested 24 hours after the Zastron police launched a manhunt for the boy.

Superintendent Motantsi Makhele said police acted swiftly after receiving reports that Boitumelo Atang Mantutle had gone missing.

"We received information on Tuesday that the toddler was taken from the pre-school by two men pretending to have been sent by his father," said Makhele.

He said a man pretending to be the boy's father called the school and said he was sending a man called Lehlohonolo to fetch the child to take him to a doctor.

At noon a man who identified himself as Lehlohonolo arrived to take the child away. The teachers did not suspect anything as the boy's purported father had called.

Another man was sitting in the car when Lehlohonolo came to fetch the boy. They later drove away in a white van.

The boy was found in the couple's home still clad in the blue shorts, T-shirt and white shoes he was wearing when he was abducted.

His parents only realised that he was missing when he did not arrive home as usual. They enquired at the pre-school and were told that two men took him away.

The police received information that Boitumelo was in Sterkspruit.

"At about 5am we raided the house and found him playing."