Forensic detectives will use DNA testing to conclusively identify the remains of a body found in a ravine in Phoenix‚ Durban‚ on Monday as that of missing schoolboy Miguel Louw.
While police have been tentative to link the discovery of the body conclusively to Miguel‚ KZN SAPS spokeswoman Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said there was a strong possibility that the body from the thick was the missing Sydenham boy.
The 9-year-old was last seen near the Rippon Road Primary School in Sydenham in the company of Mohammed Ebrahim‚ an acquaintance of his mother.
“Police from Phoenix were working in this area and were following information relating to another case. They called for assistance of the dog handler and they went into the bushes and the dog lead them to the body‚” Mbhele said.
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Sources close to the investigation‚ who spoke to TimesLIVE on condition on anonymity‚ revealed that the body had been found with a school jacket like the worn by Miguel on the day that he disappeared.
They said they would work with the understanding that the body was that of the missing boy - and would now be tasked with gathering evidence to take to trial.
Ebrahim‚ the police’s only suspect‚ remains behind bars despite being remitted on bail - unable to raise the R2‚500 that would have secured his liberty.
When he was detained three days after Miguel went missing‚ he was found in possession of the boy’s original birth certificate and Miguel’s mother’s identity document.
At Ebrahim’s bail hearing last week‚ Magistrate Mahomed Motala said that considering the evidence before him a conviction was near impossible.
“I might as well give you a prediction now. The finding is going to be not guilty given what is placed before me‚” he said.
The state will still be hard pressed to secure evidence that is beyond circumstantial in their pursuit of Ebrahim.
Meanwhile Louw's disappearance has haunted the dreams of Sheik Ebrahim Shah‚ the suspect's father.
While Ebrahim‚ sits in a cell awaiting trial‚ his family wait in fear for the backlash from the community that surrounds them.
“I lie awake at night because all I have been thinking about is this baby [Miguel]. I have my own grandson who is 9-years-old and if something like this happened to him I can’t imagine how I would feel‚” he said.
He was speaking to TimesLIVE as police examined the grim crime scene less than 100m from the home.
“I am disheartened and I am hurt... I’m so hurt. We have been reading about what happened down there and‚ to be honest with you‚ I feel like I am not the same person I was before this‚” the 77-year-old said.
“I hope that if this is Miguel’s body that his family will have some closure. As for my family‚ we are not doing well.”
Shah said that his family had faced scorn and shame‚ and were harassed by people who had come to his home looking for his Ebrahim.
“My son is inside [jail] still; he couldn’t pay money to get out. We have people coming here all week looking for my son. We live in fear‚” the elderly man said.