#DurbanBaby became a social media phenomenon since last week Friday’s alleged hijacking that which police are now saying was a staged hijacking.
Various sources report that the one month old baby had been kept at a house in New Hanover in central KwaZulu-Natal for nearly 48 hours. While search parties combed bush and roadside scrub across Durban‚ had been ferreted away to the distant farming community.
Two independent police sources‚ with intimate knowledge of the case‚ said that a break in the case came when her mother‚ under intense scrutiny and questioning by detectives‚ revealed her secret affair. The South African Police service along with the community of Durban searched areas where the child might have been however the search was called off.
By Saturday night detectives set up roadblocks and eventually located the mother’s lover as he was returning the child to Durban between midnight and 1am Sunday. The vehicle was eventually forced to stop on the N3 near the Mariannhill Toll Plaza.
Officers stationed at the Toll Plaza had seen a car matching the description of one registered in his name‚ and began chasing the vehicle as it sped toward the city. When it eventually drew to a halt‚ #DurbanBaby was found inside‚ wrapped in blanket with two suspects.
The pair‚ along with the baby’s mother were been arrested and made a brief appearance in the Durban Magistrate’s Court today. The pair are facing initial charges of the alleged staged hijacking and the kidnap of the infant, the mother of the child was not added to the court roll, her legal representative was not present for this arraignment.
The 34-year-old mother and a man believed to be her boyfriend stood before Magistrate Mahomed Motala with with their hands folded behind their backs and their heads bowed.
Confusion surrounded the 34 year old mother over her legal representative, the court heard from the mother as she mumbled to the court interpreter that she had interaction with a female attorney, but did not have any plausible reason as to why the lawyer was not present for the arraignment.
The court thereafter proceeded to hear form the legal representative of the mother’s lover who disputed the paternity of the child, the magistrate ruled that the two be remanded at Durban Central police holding cells while a DNA test was conducted.
Magistrate Mahomed Motala indicated that more charges will be brought against the accused and the State needed additional time to complete the charge sheet. The State indicated it would oppose bail for the two. The attorney for the mother’s lover revealed that there was an alleged threat to the baby’s life and this resulted in the staged “hijacking” and “kidnapping”.
Resources from various security companies invested cost and resources into the hunt for the baby in Durban. Reaction Unit SA’s Prem Balram took the initiative to be heavily involved in the search, stated he was disappointed when he heard the mother was allegedly implicated.
“Our resources could have been used elsewhere, to save the lives of those in need. “It was an absolute waste of our resources and all those hours,” he said. Balram had used his helicopter searching for the car and baby.
“On Friday we searched for five hours and on Saturday we searched for another three hours. It cost us between R35 000 and R40 000 for those two days.
“In addition, we used 10 reaction officers and eight of our cars. “In total, we spent about R60 000 on this search,” he said.
Balram said he received a call about a swimmer in distress in Hazelmere while he was in Chatsworth on Saturday. However, they were unable to assist as they were searching for the baby. The swimmer had reportedly drowned.
Sources: The Times, Durban Court, Facebook, Twitter