MISSING: Courtney Pieters, 3. CREDIT: Supplied.

Yesterday, the search took a bizarre twist when the family from Salberau, Elsies River, received a ransom demand of R35 000 for the child’s safe return.

The girl’s mother Juanita Pieters, 42, is at her wits’ end and says police are not doing enough to find her daughter.

Family spokesperson Celeste Adonis says the communication between the parents and police has been non-existent.

“We have been last to know everything. Besides the messages asking for a ransom and me asking them to trace them, with absolutely no response as yet,” says Celeste.

The WhatsApp messages from the stranger demanding ransom read: “X ht ju kind Courtney. Soek jy ju kind. X is Abonga.”

When Celeste asked the person to send a picture of Courtney, the the response was: “X sali km haal hom rand 35 000.”

When she continues to demand who the sender is, the person says: “ju kond. Jy kry ook ni vr Courtney. Dis x op di hoek.”

FRUSTRATED: Mom Juanita Pieters, 42

It has been one setback after another for Juanita, who wonders if her child is dead or alive.

The mother left her Pluto Street home for work in Epping last Thursday, leaving Courtney with her seven-year-old brother.

When she returned, the child was missing.

Juanita does not sleep, does not go to work, she just keeps busy and waits for news.

Ek soek net my kind. Somebody must just bring her to me, that is all I want. Please, whoever knows anything, just let my child come home,” she pleads.

Every day community members, police, neighbourhood watches from various areas and community organisations search in shifts.

Every day dawns with the family hoping Courtney will return home, safe and unharmed.

And every day when the shift ends and the volunteers gather back at her home, with nothing, hope seems to fade just a little bit more.

Celeste says a man in the next road denied police access to his premises without a search warrant.

“The police are not doing enough to help and every minute she is gone, chances of finding her alive become less.

"We are very grateful to everyone who is helping, thank you for all the support, but now we need to find her please,” she begs.

EFFORT: Police and Salberau community and volunteers have been searching for the missing girl for eight days now.

Communications head for Elsies River SAPS Captain Daphne O’Reilly says there have been no new developments.

A candlelight vigil was held at the family’s home at 23 Pluto Street last night.

Anyone with information can contact Warrant Officer Lawrence on 021 933 0308 or 079 894 0107.

Alternatively, contact Pink Ladies on 072 214 7439, 083 378 4882 or 072 620 7704.