GEORGE NEWS AND VIDEO - While the community of George is mourning the loss of a young mother and her two-year-old son, her six-year-old daughter has still not been found.
Heidi Scheepers and her children, Hugo (2) and Cozette (6), went missing on Tuesday 22 October after what was meant to be a quick visit to Herold's Bay beach, a popular beach not far from their home in Oubaai.
In an exclusive interview with George Herald, Scheepers' husband, Ettienne (36), said that he and Heidi took the children down to the beach that afternoon.
"We took a drive down to the beach to spend time with the children. We however did not get out of the car as the weather was bad. We discussed our upcoming holiday to Mozambique when Heidi informed me that she would be staying behind. We had a big consignment of stock arriving at the shop [Herold's Bay Café] and one of our employees had suddenly resigned. I told her that we'd talk about it at home. We did not have an argument of any kind," he said.
According to Scheepers, he then got out of the car and walked to a building site in the area that he was involved with. He also wanted to pick up his car from the shop and check the boat as they were leaving for a family holiday with his brothers for Mozambique early the next morning.
"Heidi said she and the children would see me at home. After the site visit I walked back to the shop where my car was parked. I connected the boat to the vehicle and drove home."
When he arrived at their house, Heidi and the children were nowhere to be seen.
After contacting family members and friends, none of whom knew the whereabouts of Heidi and the children, Scheepers drove to the George police station where he reported them as missing. Early the next morning, when they still hadn't returned, he went back to the police station to open a missing person's case. He also spread the word on various WhatsApp groups.
Vehicle found at Voëlklip
On Wednesday morning police were alerted that a passer-by had seen a vehicle at the bottom of a cliff in the Voëlklip area. Police, rescue and emergency services immediately responded to the scene.
The vehicle was later identified as the VW Caravelle that Scheepers and her children were driving in at the time of their disappearance.
Mother and son's bodies found
The vehicle was recovered late that evening, but nobody was found until Saturday afternoon when Heidi’s body was seen floating in the ocean near the Herold's Bay beach area. Late on Wednesday 30 October, there was still no sign of Cozette.
According to Southern Cape police spokesperson, Capt Malcolm Pojie, the search for Cozette was scaled down yesterday. "The search has been scaled down in terms of the number of personnel available as no new clues have surfaced. We will however still be conducting sporadic patrols along the coastline and we appeal to the community and fishermen to be vigilant for any debris or objects floating in the ocean. Please alert the police immediately. Police divers, NSRI rescuers and EMS search and rescue teams remain on standby for any eventuality," he said.
Kristy Kolberg intervied Captain Pojie on Thursday 24 October. Watch the video below:
Candlelight service and memorial
A candlelight memorial service, hosted by the Little Farm preschool that Hugo used to attend, was held for him on Friday 25 October. Friends, family and everyone who wished to pay their respects attended. A memorial service is planned for Saturday 9 November at Eden Place in Kraaibosch. The time is yet to be confirmed. All attempts by George Herald to contact Heidi's family have been unsuccessful.
Read previous articles:
- Voëlklip tragedy: Autopsies concluded
- Scheepers family dismisses rumours
- Search for missing girl continues
- Herold's Bay: Woman's body found in ocean
- Weather could hamper search for missing mother and daughter
- Memory wall for young Hugo Scheepers
- Soektog na ma en dogter gaan voort
- Update: Child's body recovered from Voëlklip
- Search operation now a recovery operation
- Soektog na ma en kinders hervat
- Missing: Focus on Voëlklip
- Soektog na ma en kinders gaan voort
- Urgent appeal from police
- Ma en kinders steeds vermis
- Mother and children missing
'We bring you the latest Garden Route, Karoo, Hessequa news'