Kidnapped Eastern Cape grandmother Denise Bartlett‚[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]71‚ has been found alive‚ but hungry. After almost five days of searching‚ Komani police found her locked in a house near Sterkstroom on Friday.
Her alleged kidnappers did not get the R3-million they had demanded. Two suspects were arrested‚ said police. Bartlett was abducted by two armed thugs from her family home on Monday night.
Police spokeswoman Captain Namhla Mdleleni said Bartlett had been found locked in a house near Sterkstroom on Friday.
“She has been locked in the house since Tuesday after the kidnapping. Two people have been arrested‚” she said. Police were still at the scene late on Friday afternoon.
Bartlett’s daughter‚ DA councillor Lindy Haggard‚ said she received a call on her business landline on Thursday morning from a person who said‚[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“Thetha no mamakho”[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip](Talk to your mother)‚ but she could not hear them well. I connected two phones‚ and worked with the investigating officer.
“When they called the second time‚ they demanded a ransom of R3-million. I laughed at them and told them I don’t have the money‚” she said.
“They contacted me five more times and the police managed to trace the call to one of the suspects’ cellphones.
“We arranged for the money to be dropped on Friday. I woke up on Friday and went to the bank and there was someone following me.
“While I sat at the bank I received a call from the investigating officer that they had found my mother and I went to fetch her.”
Haggard said she then took her mother to a family doctor.
She told me that since Tuesday they had eaten six slices of bread. She is a strong woman and when I spoke to her she did not even quiver or cry
“She told me that since Tuesday they had eaten six slices of bread. She is a strong woman and when I spoke to her she did not even quiver or cry‚” Haggard said.
Her only problem was low cholesterol‚ she said.
She said Bartlett was well and was with her in a place of safety.
“I am happy that she is back and I would like to thank all those who have prayed for her and supported us through this difficult time‚” she said.
Mdleleni congratulated the team that had worked hard to trace Bartlett.
“The two suspects who are charged with kidnapping and house robbery will appear in the Sterkstroom Magistrate’s Court on Monday‚” she said.
People have been showing their support for the Bartlett family on social media.
Bartlett was taken after her house was robbed. The men kidnapped her and drove away in her lime-green Chevrolet‚ which was discovered at Amberdale crossing 3km outside of Komani.
Police launched a manhunt. On Wednesday‚ a helicopter was in the sky searching for Bartlett.
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