A FEMALE teacher is among three people arrested for allegedly snatching a six-year-old girl from her screaming mother’s arms outside the school gates.
Another woman, said to be a “close family friend”, and a 50-year-old man have also been held over the kidnapping of Amy-Leigh de Jager, who was later found dumped on a dark street corner in South Africa.
Amy-Leigh de Jager, 6, was snatched from her mums arms on the school run on Monday[/caption]
Distraught Angeline de Jager had just parked her VW Polo outside a school in Pretoria and was about to walk daughter Amy-Leigh and her brother, five, inside when the alleged kidnappers struck.
Cops believe Amy-Leigh was specifically targeted because they threw her brother aside and ignored all the other children nearby in order to rip the girl from her terrified mum’s arms.
A short while later her dad Wynand, who is a F1 powerboat racer on the international circuit, received a mobile call demanding a two million rand ransom (£111,000) for his daughters safe release.
With the abduction making headlines around the world, the kidnappers later dumped the distraught little girl on a street corner in the dark at 2am on Tuesday- 19 hours after she was snatched.
They had given the six-year-old girl R4 (20p) to buy some water, pointed at a nearby car and lied that her mother was sitting inside waiting for her.
Today, Wynand de Jager confirmed that one of the arrested women was the teacher of his son Jayden at Kollegepark Primary School.
He told News24: “I can confirm that one of the suspects is indeed Jayden’s teacher. She is known to me and my family”.
Amy-Leigh’s family said they cried “tears of relief” after she was found.
Writing on Facebook, Amy-Leigh’s auntie Louise Horn said at the time: “Tears have come out like rivers and the sadness and fear cannot be described in words. The love of strangers has left us speechless.
“I had the privilege to be able to hold Amy-Leigh early this morning and kiss her. Her smile got fused to the front of my heart. Innocent children do not deserve this sadness.
CCTV shows the 4×4 driving off with the girl in the back after the terrifying abduction near Johannesburg[/caption]
“Thank you to the media and thank you Lord for our miracle end. Amy-Leigh you are so brave and I love you with my whole life.
“We are just thankful that she is alive.
“It was the longest 19 hours of our families lives and we are really glad she is back with us.”
Two women, aged 27 and 40, and a 50-year-old man were arrested at their homes in Vanderbijlpark on Wednesday night, confirmed police Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo.
One of the female suspects, he said, “is known to the parents of Amy-Leigh”.
He said: “Amy-Leigh was released unharmed at about 2.30am on Tuesday morning having been kidnapped at 7.40am on Monday outside her school and we have made three arrests during an intelligence-led operation.
“We have arrested two women aged 27 and 40 and a 50-year-old man at their homes in Vanderbiljpark and the operation by our specialist teams is continuing and more arrests may follow and we will keep you updated.”
A source close to the family confirmed to TimesLIVE that one of the people arrested was a “very close family friend” and added “the other suspect is also connected to the family”.
According to the source, Amy-Leigh is still very traumatised and is yet to return to school.
most read in news
A private investigator who specialises in tracing missing children, Wendy Pascoe, was called in to work along with hostage negotiators and tracing teams and the SA Crime Intelligence Unit to help trace her.
Wendy told TimesLIVE: “This is not something we usually see with kidnappings and what is odd is that the vehicle wasn’t taken but the child was as usually the child is taken by mistake when a car is hijacked.
“What is also very curious is that the abductors seem to have targeted Amy-Lee as they paid no attention to the other children which tells us that they were waiting for her and they knew who she was.”
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at [email protected] or call 0207 782 4368 . You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.