A 34-year-old man who allegedly abducted and raped a teenage girl said he wanted to ‘spoil her’ for her birthday, it is claimed.
A private security firm found the 13-year-old in the South African city of Richards Bay, more than 100 miles away from her home in Durban.
The man, who is her neighbour, told security officers he drove off with her on Tuesday after she complained about her family verbally abusing her.
They were found at the home of his extended family at just before midnight that same day.
Police spokeswoman Captain Nqobile Gwala said charges of kidnapping and rape have now been opened and are being investigated.
She told Times Live: “Charges of kidnapping and rape were opened for investigation on Thursday at Verulam SAPS (South African Police Service).
“The docket has been transferred to the Phoenix family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit for further investigation. The matter is still under investigation.”
Rusa director Prem Balram previously said he took the girl away to ‘spoil her’ for her birthday.
Mr Balram added: “Reaction officers travelled 156km from the Rusa headquarters to Richards Bay after receiving several tip-offs from residents in the area regarding the missing persons.
“Reaction officers located a home and found them in the company of extended family.
“According to the man, he left his home to spend the child’s birthday with his family.
“The child turned 13 on Tuesday and he said he intended spoiling her on her birthday and wanted to seek employment in the area during the week.”
A relative claimed she spotted the teen getting in her neighbour’s car just before she went missing.
Her family went to the father-of-four’s house while searching for their daughter, only to find he had disappeared.
The girl’s parents previously said she they were friends with the neighbour, Times Live reported.