A family from the Garden Route in the Western Cape have been torn apart by tragedy this week. Heidi Scheepers and her two children went missing on Tuesday afternoon, after they visited the beach along with the father and husband of the household.
The past 48 hours have been frantic, with authorities fighting tooth and nail to find the missing trio. There was a tragic discovery made on Thursday, but the police aren’t giving up hope just yet. Here’s everything we know about the case so far, and what we can expect to learn on Friday:
Heidi Scheepers latest news – five key details:
Where we’re at with the search
Heidi Scheepers and her two children went missing on Tuesday evening, just after 18:00. They had gone for a family walk along with the ‘man of the house’, Etienne. He broke away from his wife and kids to attend to a business call and meet them back at home. However, when he returned later, there was no-one at the house.
The alarm was subsequently raised, with a search and rescue operation taking place over the past 48 hours. Heidi Scheepers’ VW Caravelle is believed to have left the road at Voëlklip Beach, and the authorities are combing the area with a fine toothpick. Parts of what appeared to be the missing VW’s door were discovered at the bottom of a steep cliff, but the NSRI’s search has been hampered by poor weather conditions.
Who has been found
A tragic breakthrough was made yesterday: Police confirmed that two-year-old son Hugo had been found at the bottom of a gorge in Voëlklip. However, both Heidi Scheepers and her six-year-daughter Cozette are still missing. The hopes of finding them alive are evaporating by the hour.
Heidi Scheepers – background, history and personal information
The 35-year-old lives in Herold’s Bay, which is about 25km south-west of George. She owns the Herold’s Bay Cafe and Garden Route Property Management Company with husband Etienne. The vehicle she went missing in is a charcoal-coloured, VW Caravelle TDI minibus – with the registration CAW66036. The Pink Ladies group, who help find missing women in South Africa, posted this photo to their Facebook page:
Tragic history of Voelklip
In another dark twist, it seems the spot where Heidi Scheepers and her children went missing has been the site of tragedy before. Three youngsters plunged to their death in this location back in 2015. The bodies of the students were found in November, almost four years to the month before this case.
They are Marnic Els (20yrs), Luandro Jansen (21yrs) and Werner Finger (20yrs). Els and Jansen's bodies were retrieved from the scene on Mon.
— Iindaba (@Iindaba_Zethu) November 18, 2015
The search continues for Heidi Scheepers on Friday
The authorities have resumed their efforts to try and find Cozette and Heidi Scheepers. The NSRI, police helicopters and an extensive team of officers and community workers are on the scene. Meanwhile, law enforcement have advised people to steer clear of sharing “fake news” on the subject, and advised the public to avoid “speculating” on the circumstances which have lead to this heart-breaking incident.