The Pelican Park community has been left reeling in shock as their hopes of finding bubbly 12-year-old Michaela Williams alive were dashed when the man accused of her murder pointed police to where her lifeless body was later found.
Her body was discovered early yesterday in Schaapkraal, Philippi, after the 48-year-old showed police where he had dumped her.
This followed a frantic search by residents on Tuesday night when Michaela’s family couldn’t find her.
She had been playing in front of her New Horizons home with friends before disappearing.
She was seen in the company of the man, who is understood to live in the same street.
When police went to look for the man, he was not at home, according to residents.
The search was expanded on Wednesday with safety community structures working with police to locate the girl.
Provincial police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said: “On Wednesday the mother of the child reported her missing at Grassy Park police station. A search with various role-players commenced.
“Vital information was followed as part of the investigation and the suspect interviewed. The interview led to him pointing out where the body was.
“A post-mortem will soon be conducted to determine how she died and whether any more charges could be added.”
The suspect charged with murder will appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court today. Pelican Park Walking Bus co-ordinator Afieya Daniels said the last time she saw Michaela was a few hours before she went missing.
Daniels had sent her to buy milk at a nearby shop. The girl returned with the milk and continued playing with friends.
“This was around about 5 pm and usually by 7 pm she would be inside her home. I knew about her disappearance when her mother was looking for her.
“We searched everywhere and asked around. We were hoping to continue the search today (Thursday) and were hoping to find her before the weekend.
“When I was woken up by the news of her murder, I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t.”
An emotional Daniels said she had known Michaela since she moved into the area with her family six years ago.
“I’m broken and angry; we all are in the community. She was loved by every parent for her personality, respect, and obedience.
“She was part of the holiday programmes and enjoyed them a lot,” Daniels said.
Michaela’s family was not available for comment.
Provincial police commissioner Yolisa Matakata expressed her shock at the murder and thanked those who took part in the search.
“While this will not bring back the life lost the lengthy incarceration of the perpetrator will ensure the communities of Cape Town are much safer,” she said.
Michaela’s murder comes as the wait continues for the appointment of a Western Cape commissioner for children. The commissioner’s role will be to uphold the rights, needs, and interests of children.
Social Development standing committee chairperson Gillion Bosman said the body had concluded the process of shortlisting candidates in accordance with the Western Cape Commissioner for Children’s Act, 2019.
A total of 59 nominations had been received and shortlisted candidates would be invited for interviews from February 18 to 20, Bosman said