Pub crawling nanny causes consternation

A desperate search for two missing toddlers delivered quick results thanks to the involvement of multiple parties.

08 October 2018 | Crime

Otis Finck - A frantic search for two toddlers and their missing nanny ended in a happy reunion last week.

At least 30 people were deployed in Swakopmund, and the police put up roadblocks to Arandis, Henties Bay and Walvis Bay to assist in the search. Social media was also used in the effort to trace and locate the missing trio.

Jo-Ann Damens left her two children, Danilla Damens (4) and Daniel Bruwer (3), in the care of a nanny in Tamariskia when she left for work on Sunday morning. When she arrived home after work at 17:50, she found the door locked.

According to Melvin Bruwer, the children's father, Jo-Ann initially thought the nanny had gone to the shop with them. “There is only one key for the door and Jo-Ann waited for about an hour and a half for them to return.”

When this did not happen, Jo-Ann started panicking and phoned Melvin. He arrived and broke down the door so that they could determine if the nanny and children were inside. Melvin searched the house and found the nanny's handbag. It contained her hospital passport with her personal details.

They went to the police station, reported the matter and initiated a search party consisting of family and friends, special field force members, Marshal Rangers and police officers.

Windhoek contact

Melvin also contacted the nanny's sister who is a lawyer in Windhoek and explained the situation to her. She contacted the Windhoek City Police who traced the location of the nanny's cellphone signal to Tulinawa in Mondesa.

“We started searching the shebeens and obtained confirmation that the nanny and the children were seen in the area. She was eventually located at Commandos pub at around 24:00. She told us she went bar-hopping with the children and later decided to leave the kids in the care of a lady friend.”

The children were subsequently found unharmed and retrieved from a backyard shack in the area.

The nanny was arrested, and the police advised the parents to open a case of attempted kidnapping and a case of endangering the lives of the two children.

“We decided to let the nanny go after this traumatic experience. The children are now with their granny in Windhoek.”

Melvin thanked everybody who joined in the search for his children. He advised parents to be extra cautious when employing nannies and domestic workers. “We have to be more careful in these desperate times, particularly after what happened to Cheryl Avihe Ujaha in Windhoek. There were so many things running though our minds during this ordeal, especially in light of all the social media reports about kidnappings.

“Be sure that you know the people you employ. Do background checks and ensure that you have alternative contact details in case of an emergency. We would have been completely lost if we had not located the nanny's sister.”

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