Missing teen ‘needed space’



September 9, 2016
Missing teen ‘needed space’

BACK HOME: Toni Leah Mawa, 19

Teenager apologises after 24-hour frantic search

A Cape Flats meisie has apologised after sparking 24 hours of panic when she mysteriously disappeared.

The Athlone teen had responded to a Facebook advert to buy takkies and went missing for more than a day, with police launching a manhunt and messages on social media asking the public’s assistance going viral.

But Toni Leah Mawa, 19, from Bridgetown, who disappeared on Wednesday morning, rocked up at her house yesterday afternoon, telling her family she “had needed space”.

In a Facebook post last night, the girl said: “I am deeply sorry for my disappearance and the worry I caused many people. I just needed space, but thank you so much to everyone for your prayers and concerns.”

Toni had arranged to meet up with an unknown woman at McDonald’s in Observatory to purchase the Nikes, which was being sold for R600 on the Cape Town Second Hand Clothing page on Facebook.

The teen left her home alone on Wednesday morning, and was supposed to meet the seller at 11am.

But her family started worrying when she did not return home and her phone was switched off from 2pm.

There was even more panic when the original Facebook advert was deleted late on Wednesday afternoon.

The family immediately alerted cops and also posted notices on social media, asking for the public to help.

The girl’s mom, Rejaune, had apparently advised Toni not to go and meet this person, and if she did, to take a friend along.

Family spokeswoman Debbie Maverberger says the Facebook advertisement caught Toni’s eye on Sunday.

“She told her mother she responded to the ad for a pair of Nike takkies for only R600. She then left to meet the woman at McDonalds in Observatory. She has since not come home and the family is very concerned as this is very out of character for Toni,” Maverberger said yesterday morning.

However, just before 1pm, Maverberger sent an email message to say Toni was home “safe and unharmed”.

Captain FC van Wyk confirmed the missing teen came home, and that her disappearance is being investigated.

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