A woman who was outed as a child kidnapper on social media has broken her silence.
The woman was caught taking photos of two young girls in Somerset Mall on Saturday.
The girls’ moms confronted the middle-aged white woman and forced her to delete their photos.
One of the girls’ moms, Antoinette Dyers, then shared the incident, along with photos of the woman, on Facebook.
This comes as posts about a child kidnapping syndicate are going around on Facebook and WhatsApp, warning of a blonde woman in a green or blue car who is taking photos of children outside school.
Last week, Strand mom Marotena Thomas, 33, said her daughter was nearly snatched by a woman with long blonde hair outside the Rusthof Primary School. Police confirmed the incident.
Dyers’ Facebook post was shared more than 28 000 times before it was removed.
In a lengthy message posted on the Strand, Gordon’s Bay, Somerset West community Facebook page on Tuesday, the blonde woman, who claims to be a street photographer, says she was shopping in Somerset Mall when she started taking photos of the sun streaming through the roof.
“I took photos of the ceiling and any people at the bottom of the frames looked like matchstick men in silhouette,” reads her post.
She then took shots of a young boy fooling around with his sister.
“The next thing this woman with a pushchair came screaming over to me, her sister behind her also screaming and shouting, that I was a child kidnapper, taking photos of children,” she says.
“I couldn’t believe it!”
She was “interrogated by Mall Management” before two cops took her to the police station where she was “grilled” and her house searched before she was released.
The next day she was informed of the Facebook post that had gone viral, and was advised to open a case of slander.
While in a shop she was once again approached by a cop and taken to the police station.
“…(on the way, driving, I heard a report about a woman claiming to be a street photographer being one of a syndicate that was kidnapping children in the Strand area. It was on 567 by the way),” she adds.
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk confirms that the woman was taken in for questioning.
“Her residence was visited but nothing can prove that she is involved in the kidnapping of children. No case was registered against her,” says Van Wyk.
The woman has demanded a public apology and threatened to take legal action.
“My reputation as a law-abiding citizen has been shattered and I am being treated like a pariah by strangers,” she says.
Van Wyk warned mense to be careful of what they posted on social media.
“People should refrain from posting pictures or make serious allegations of people unless they are found guilty in a court of law. It is best to first bring such information under the attention of police before attempting to place such information on social media,” he says.
Dyers did not respond to messages on Facebook.