The youngster, who was seven years old when she went missing on January 22, 2013, was reunited with her family around 8:20 p.m. on Thursday. The 16-year-old was discovered 500 meters from her house in Andheri (West).
Assistant Sub-Inspector Rajendra Dhondu Bhosle of Mumbai’s D N Nagar Police Station handled the cases of 166 missing females between 2008 and 2015, the year he retired.
He and his colleagues were able to apprehend 165 of them. She remained Girl No. 166, whom Bhosle pursued for two years as a cop and seven years after she retired.
The youngster, who was seven years old when she went missing on January 22, 2013, was reunited with her family around 8:20 p.m. on Thursday.
The 16-year-old was discovered 500 meters from her house in Andheri (West).
While Harry Joseph D’Souza (50) was detained, his wife Soni (37) is also charged. The pair allegedly abducted her in order to have their own child.
In this period, a lot has changed. While her father was deceased, the girl was sent to work as a babysitter at a society in Andheri (West). When she saw her mother and uncle, she recognized them right away.
Both sides broke down while a police squad stood nearby, holding their breath.
On that day in 2013, the girl and her older brother were on their way to their municipal school when they got into an argument about pocket money.
D’Souza said police he saw the girl walking near the school and assumed she was the solution to the family’s longing for a child.
The family filed a complaint with the D N Nagar Police Station when the girl failed to return home after school. Bhosle took over the investigation.
According to authorities, D’Souza informed them that he only realized the ramifications of what he had done when police became involved and the news was taken up by the media, which was followed by a push by locals to find her.
Fearing the implications for himself, he sent the girl to a dormitory in their hometown of Raichur, Karnataka. D’Souza and Soni had their first child in 2016. .They got the daughter back from Karnataka, purportedly because they couldn’t afford to raise two children, and hired her as a babysitter.
According to Milind Kurde, D N Nagar Station Senior Inspector, the family also relocated, strangely to the same Gilbert Hill neighbourhood of Andheri (West), virtually next door to where the girl previously resided.
Kurde claims that the pair assumed no one would recognize the girl now that she was an adult.
“Her missing posters had also vanished. Furthermore, the accused made certain that the girl did not speak to anyone in the neighborhood,” the officer said.
“D’Souza’s wife would beat her up while he got drunk and told her he picked her up from someplace in 2013,” the girl’s uncle stated. She realized the pair were not her parents, but she was so terrified of them that she didn’t know how to flee.”
Meanwhile, ASI Bhosle continued to look. On March 8, 2015, the media highlighted how the investigation had become a personal crusade for him in an article titled “Girl No.166.”
“When he came to see us last week, we all started sobbing. We had given all hope, but he insisted on finding her,” the girl’s uncle stated.
The domestic help at the house where the girl had been working as a babysitter for the last seven months came to her aid. According to an official, after hearing her narrative, the woman Googled the girl’s name, entering 2013 as D’Souza had said and’missing.’
“She discovered the campaigns and write-ups that had appeared after she went missing,” her uncle explained.
According to the uncle, the child recalled everything after seeing the images, including the fact that she lived in the same neighborhood. They also discovered a missing poster with five contact numbers online.
“While four of the numbers did not work, Rafique, the family’s neighbor, did,” her uncle explained.
Rafique was first skeptical since he had received several such calls to his phone number over the years.
He requested an image as proof. On Thursday morning, the two of them called Rafique on video, who grabbed a screenshot and gave it to the girl’s mother and uncle.
“As soon as we recognized her, we busted out crying,” the uncle stated.
The family obtained information about the Juhu community where she worked from her and notified the D N Nagar Police Station.
As the family and the police team approached, the girl came down under the guise of taking the child she was watching for a stroll.
The daughter and her mother met for the first time in nine years at 8.20 p.m., as night fell. ASI Bhosle remarked, “When I initially got the call, I couldn’t believe it. I checked with the Senior Inspector. When I was looking for her, I phoned V D Bhoite, the Senior Inspector of DN Nagar Police Station He said you did your best and covered 99 percent of the possibilities. The remaining 1% is God’s blessing.”