Slain boy, 11, dreamed of being just like the cops investigating his murder
Eleven-year-old Jemaine Jonathan of Helenvale dreamed of becoming a policeman, but that dream ended when the little boy was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head.
Yesterday, friends and family gathered at Reginald Street, in Port Elizabeth’s Helenvale, to remember Jemaine, who was fondly known as “Boeta”.
Jemaine’s body was found by passers-by dumped on a footpath in Extension 6, Malabar, yesterday morning.
His distraught sister, Cindy Brown, 25, said her brother was a hyperactive and friendly child who was loved by everyone in the neighbourhood.
“His greatest dream was to become a policeman and fight crime. He used to go and visit police officers at Gelvandale Police Station. We will sorely miss him,” she said.
Brown’s husband, Alfonzo, 27, said: “Jemaine was home the whole week but went out only on Friday. It is mind-boggling. How do you start to shoot an 11-year-old child? Only a dirty person would do this to him.”
Fighting back tears, Jemaine’s mother, Charmaine Jonathan, 44, said she last saw the boy alive on Friday before she left for work.
Jonathan said that when she returned from work, her son was not at home.
“He usually visits his friends at the weekend and only returns on Sunday. Sometimes he would come with better clothes to prove he hung out with good families. I thought this time around he would come home as normal.”
But yesterday morning, she heard the news most dreaded by any parent
“My other son came to my workplace and said, ‘mommy come with me’.
“Jemaine was no more. We then proceeded to the scene in Malabar where he had been shot. Who can do such a thing? He was just a child.”
Jonathan said Jemaine had previously attended Helenvale Primary School but had suddenly not wanted to go there any longer as other boys had threatened him with death. Three months ago, Jonathan secured a transfer for him to Bayview Primary.
“He was threatened with death because they claimed he befriended a gang member at school. My child was not affiliated to any gangsters. He was home the whole week until Friday, when he went out,” she said.
Police spokesman Warrant Officer Alwin Labans said a 16-year old boy had been arrested in connection with Jemaine’s murder.
“This morning the suspect, who was accompanied by his mother, handed himself over at the Gelvandale Police Station. He will appear in court soon,” Labans said.
According to police, a group of children walking along the path to school raised the alarm when they came across Jemaine’s body.
Labans said the motive for the murder remained unclear.
“We, however, suspect the body was dumped and the shooting did not occur here.
“The murder must have happened between late Sunday night and early [yesterday] morning. At this stage, we can confirm the cause of death is a gunshot wound to the head.”
Asked why detectives suspected the murder occurred elsewhere, Labans said blood on the scene did not correlate with that of a crime scene where someone had been shot.
He said Jemaine had not been reported missing.
“According to the parents, he was well known for just wandering the streets at all hours and for days at a time,” he said.
“For this reason, the family assumed he was with his friends and for that reason had not been reported missing.”
Asked about the arrested suspect, Labans said that detectives were still interrogating him to find out what had transpired.