Coming full circle: Creating beauty out of the pain

Coming full circle: Creating beauty out of the pain

Desiree Reid disappeared on the 28th of January 2000. For 22 years her sister Janet and her mother, Jeanette have fought to raise awareness around Desiree’s case in the hopes that one day, they might be able to bring her home.


I started my podcast, True Crime South Africa in 2019 to raise awareness around the victims of violent crime in South Africa. The stories I tell often do not have happy endings, but I believe that the victims deserve to have their stories told because so many of these cases will never get coverage in the media.

The missing person cases I cover on my podcast have always been very close to my heart and I stay in contact with many of the family members after I release their episodes in the hopes that I can continue to assist with awareness.

My contact with Desiree Reid’s family after I covered her case in episode 42 of my podcast would have some very special ripple effects.

Janet Joao, Desiree’s sister, married and gave birth to her children Alyssa and Jesse after Desiree disappeared. The children, now teenagers, have never met their aunt, but she has remained part of their life through the stories told and memories shared by their mother and grandmother.

I recently asked Janet if her children, who are very talented musicians, might like to write and record a song in memory of Desiree and in tribute to all the other people who remain missing in our country, and across the world. The family jumped at the opportunity and produced the most incredible piece of music which I will be using in my podcast, going forward, every time I cover a missing person’s case.

The song, called Void, tells the story of the unresolved grief experienced by the family of a missing person. Jesse and Alyssa have also put together a music video for the song which is available on YouTube and contains the missing person posters of all the cases I’ve discussed on my podcast so far and a portrait of Desiree, donated by artist, Craig Banks.

This song is Desiree Reid’s legacy. Although we do not know whether Desiree is still alive, every time someone hears this song, her memory will be revived for those few minutes. In addition, I hope the listener will think about all the other missing people whose cases remain unresolved and whose families struggle with this trauma daily.

As I said to Janet, I feel like we have come full circle in a way by putting this song out into the world. We have created something very beautiful out of a lot of pain and tragedy.

We are releasing this song on International Missing Person’s Day, 25th May, along with an update episode of True Crime South Africa which discusses some of the leads and developments that have happened as a result of the podcast.

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