Yale Student Missing in S. Africa Phones Parents

From Associated Press

A Yale University student who disappeared in South Africa nearly a month ago called her parents, asking them to come get her.

"She was crying over the phone," Natasha Smalls' mother, Glory, told Newsday in Friday's editions. "She was very scared, very nervous. She kept saying, 'Mommy, please come and get me,' like a little kid."

Glory Smalls wouldn't say what else her daughter said in the Thursday morning call, except to say "something serious happened."

"I kept telling her, 'You're going to be OK, baby. You're coming home.' I was just so relieved," she told the New York Post.

Natasha Smalls, 20, had been studying at the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa, on a Fulbright grant.

On July 26, she called her mother to say she feared for her life and had been locked up in a psychiatric hospital in Zimbabwe and injected with medication, Glory Smalls said.

She said she told her daughter to fly home immediately, and Natasha Smalls withdrew money in Johannesburg to pay for her ticket.

She was supposed to fly home to New York on Aug. 1, but the airline said she never got on the plane.

In March, Natasha Smalls said she was assaulted in South Africa. Her mother said she flew there and urged her daughter to come home, but she was determined to stay.

South African police spokesman Vishnu Naidoo told Newsday he was unaware that Smalls had turned up, and said the department would investigate if something criminal had happened.

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