The Hawks are now investigating a case of kidnapping following the disappearance of Tony (73) and Jill (78) Dinnis, from Middelrus near Mooi River in KZN, last week.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo confirmed the case opened was changed from missing persons to that of kidnapping after the couple’s family received a call demanding a ransom amount.
The couple were last seen on August 27 by the owner of the property they were renting.
The owner went back to their cottage three days later and noticed the couple were not at home.
After investigations, the owner discovered that all the doors, including the gate, were locked and their five dogs and three cats were locked inside the house in separate bedrooms – the same way the couple would usually leave them when going out.
Their vehicle was still parked outside the cottage, which raised more suspicion. It is alleged that nothing inside the cottage was out of place to suggest that there had been a break-in.
Concerned community members, along with various security companies in the area and the SAPS search and rescue team, searched the area for days without finding any leads.
Sniffer dogs were also brought in to help search for the couple.
The property owner’s wife, Sue Taylor, told The Witness that the elderly couple were not social people.
She said they kept to themselves and hardly left the property because Jill couldn’t walk long distances as she had a limp.
Taylor said it was strange that Jill’s walking stick was found inside the house.
“This whole thing is strange and confusing and has taken a toll on us. We just want it to come to an end and for Tony and Jill to be found,” urged Taylor.
The Dinnis’ granddaughter, Lauren Colvin, said the family was holding up as best they could as the police conduct their investigation.
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