Three people have been arrested for the kidnapping of Amy'Leigh de Jager, who was snatched from her mother's car at the Laerskool Kollegepark in Vanderbijlpark on Monday.
According to police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, one man and two women aged between 27 and 50 were arrested just before midnight on Wednesday. One suspect is known to Amy'Leigh's parents, Wynand and Angeline de Jager, Naidoo said.
Four men snatched Amy'Leigh from her mother's car at the school and they drove off in a white Toyota Fortuner, News24 reported.
Police had launched a manhunt while her distraught parents waited at the Vanderbijlpark police station for any news.
Amy'Leigh was dropped off by her kidnappers between 02:00 and 02:30 on Tuesday on a street close to The Shakespeare Inn hotel in Vanderbijlpark.
Two people - a man and a woman - took her to the Vanderbijlpark police station where she was reunited with her parents.
Amy'Leigh's school issued a short statement on Thursday morning confirming the arrests. "We as a school, together with management and the governing body, are aware that suspects have been arrested in the Amy'Leigh matter. Though we cannot divulge more information, we are working together closely with the SAPS and other authorities."
"During an intelligence-driven operation members from the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit arrested three suspects last night in connection with the kidnapping of Amy'Leigh de Jager," Naidoo said in a statement on Thursday.
"Members from the FCS Unit in Vanderbijlpark assisted by members from FCS Unit in Vereeniging and Crime Intelligence members arrested two women aged 27 years and 40 years as well as a 50 year man at [their] homes in Vanderbijlpark.
"She was released unharmed by her kidnappers during early hours of [Tuesday] morning after the kidnappers knew that the net was closing in on them. "However, the FCS Unit continued with the investigations and arrested the three suspects, one of whole (a female suspect) is known to the parents of Amy'Leigh," Naidoo said. "I applaud the unwavering commitment shown by the investigators and members of Crime Intelligence in this case", said National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole.
"These members have worked around the clock ever since Amy Lee's kidnapping was reported to us and such dedication is very encouraging," said Sitole.According to Naidoo, the three suspects are currently in police custody and are expected to appear in the Vanderbijlpark court by close of business on Friday.
"We are satisfied that we have the three main people responsible for the kidnapping of Amy'Leigh behind bars, but the possibility of more arrests being effected cannot be ruled out. "We appeal to anyone who has information on crime to please contact our Crime Stop number 086 00 10111. Callers may remain anonymous and all information will be treated with strictest confidence," Naidoo said.