Police are perplexed by the case of missing Heidie Scheepers (35) and her children, aged six and two years old respectively, who went missing while on their way to Herolds Bay for a beachwalk on Tuesday, October 22 at 6pm.
Authorities intially feared they had been abducted, but new evidence reveals that this may not be the case – parts of a car believed to be Scheepers’ were found at the bottom of a cliff. The car parts were discovered near what is known as a dangerous fishing and picnic spot called Voëlklip. The spot is located on the outskirts of Herold Bay.
Her husband, 36-year-old Ettienne, had reportedly made his way to the beach with his family, but left because he reportedly had business to check on. The couple are the owners of the Herold’s Bay Café, and also run the Garden Route Property Management group.
Social media posts asking for any information on the family’s whereabouts went viral mere hours after their disappearance.
The search for them became a group effort, with police, rescue workers and residents joining in on the search. They covered the entire town, as well as those neighbouring, and still came up with no clue as to where the family went. The search extended all the way to George, and authorities from both the Eastern and Western Cape put their manpower into finding the missing Scheepers’.
A rescue vehicle was also deployed on Wednesday, with the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) arriving to help after someone reported spotting what appeared to be the charcoal-coloured door of a VW Caravelle at the bottom of the Voëlklip cliffs. The door was the same colour as the missing vehicle.
According to Southern Cape police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie, police divers withdrew from the sea shortly after going in because the weather conditions were too adverse to continue the search safely.
“NSRI launched a boat to have a look while the helicopter hovered above,” Pojie said. “At this stage, the only thing we can say is that parts of a vehicle the same colour as the missing Caravelle were found at the bottom of the cliff. Due to the weather conditions, we were unable to retrieve the car parts at this stage.”
The cliff is approximately 100-metres high, and rescuers had to abseil down the cliff face. Even doing so, they were unable to recover any of the vehicle parts.
“At this stage, we need to decide how to proceed. The weather is hampering the situation but our teams are trying their best to get answers,” Pojie said.
Picture: George Herold/Facebook