Amy-Leigh de Jager was abducted Monday morning outside Kollegepark Primary School in Vanderbijlpark, a city located about 45 miles south of Johannesburg, Missing Children of South Africa said in a post on Facebook. The four men allegedly grabbed Jager from her mother and drove off in a white Toyota Fortuner.
Shortly after Jager’s abduction, her father, F1 powerboat racer Wynand de Jager, received a call demanding a $132,000 ransom for his daughter’s safe return, South African daily The Times reported.
Police launched a manhunt in the wake of the kidnapping, employing hostage negotiators and tracking teams, the paper reported.
But Jager was suddenly found about 2 a.m. Tuesday on a street corner where the alleged kidnappers dropped her off, her aunt, Louise Horn, told the paper. A couple heard the girl crying and took her to a police station. She appeared unharmed, Horn said.
“It was the longest 19 hours of our lives,” Horn said. “We are really glad she's back with us.”
The six-year-old was taken to a local hospital for a medical examination, the South African Police Service said in a statement.
“The investigation into her disappearance and sudden reappearance is still on-going,” police said. “It is our appeal that this investigation be allowed to take its course.”
Horn told The Times that after Jager was reunited with her parents, “the first thing she asked for was a burger and her brother.”
No ransom had been paid, according to Horn.