Shahiel’s aunt charged with murder

It is alleged that Shahiel Sewpujun was suffocated to death, allegedly at the hands of his aunt. Shahiel, a Clayhaven Primary School learner was missing since Thursday morning, 5 February, 2015.

Investigations by Phoenix SAPS have shown that Shahiel’s aunt, Kavitha Naicker (31) who allegedly suffocated him on Thursday morning. “It is alleged that the aunt, “Kavitha” gagged Shahiel and as a result of his asthmatic condition, the boy suffocated and died,” said Phoenix SAPS Communications Officer, Lieutenant Louise Naidoo.

State Prosecutor, Rakesh Singh presented a case of planned and pre-meditated murder in front of Magistrate Loshni Badal at the Verulam Magistrate Court, yesterday afternoon.

The case has been remanded to 17 February 2015 for bail, as the State is awaiting the appearance of a second suspect in the murder case that has shocked the community of Phoenix.

Police sources have revealed to the Phoenix Tabloid that the death could be ruled as accidental. “It would seem that the aunt was not fully aware of her actions at the time. What we do know is that when she became aware of what she did, she informed her mother who allegedly assisted her in getting rid of the body,” claimed the source. Community members have said that they saw the aunt with a bin bag in the vicinity of where the body was found.

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On Saturday afternoon, during the search and rescue operations, the aunt and grandmother allegedly locked themselves in the bathroom of their flat in Flatclay and drank brake fluid. A suicide note was found under the bed by the search and rescue dog unit. “Two females were rushed to the Mahamata Gandhi Hospital after allegedly drinking brake fluid. Both patients were critical and it was touch and go for most of Saturday night. The condition of the older of the two woman deteriorated and she was transferred to Albert Luthuli Hospital,” said Accimed spokesperson, Viki Januk.

According to Lt Naidoo, the saga began when Shahiel’s mother returned home from work on Thursday evening at about 8pm. She reported the child missing at Phoenix SAPS. Lieutenant Naidoo confirmed that a missing person docket was registered at 3:40am on Saturday, 10 February 2015. “The community were already searching for the missing boy. On Saturday, officers mobilised and the searched intensified. Search and rescue dogs were also used, and every nook and crook was searched but we did not find anything,” she explained.

There were stories circulating of Shahiel having been kidnapped by an Indian man with two blue stripes in his hair, a double eyebrow piercing and a skull tattoo on his right hand side. Other information pointed to two men from Bhambayi who had coerced Shahiel into a black Golf, and another allegation of him going into the home of an adult gay friend nearby. The most daunting was an alleged suicide note that implicated Shahiel’s stepfather in a kidnapping ring involving drug dealers and a supposed inheritance left for Shahiel by his grandfather.

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All these stories were proved wrong through investigative work by senior management and officers of the Phoenix SAPS, under the leadership of Station Commander Brigadier GP Makoba and Cluster Commander Brigadier Ngobeni. A suicide note left behind by the aunt, Kavita and her mother, implicated Shahiel’s step-father “Asif” in the murder of Shahiel. Police sources have since revealed that the note stated that the step-father had allegedly hired two men from Bhambayi to kidnap Shahiel and hold him as ransom for money from Shahiel’s grandfather. Police arrested Asif on Saturday afternoon after the suicide note implicated him. However, according to Lieutenant Naidoo, investigations cleared Asif, with CCTV footage showing that he was at work all day.

At the epi-centre, the Phoenix Tabloid witnessed how hundreds of residents from Phoenix, together with community leaders, Pastor Mervyn Reddy, KZN VIP Security CEO Glen Naidoo and Clayhaven Primary School Governing Body Chairman, Victor Chetty combed through the bushes, alleyways, streams and roads from Flatclay and Cranbebrook to the school, desperately searching for Shahiel. The epi-center setup at Clayhaven Primary School ensured that every lead was followed through. Volunteers would jump into cars and bakkies as soon as information was passed onto them. It was at this epi-centre that the news was received, that Shahiel’s body was found.

“During an informal meeting with KZN VIP on Sunday afternoon, we received word from community members that the child’s body was found in a manhole at the corner of Charclay and Clayfield Drive. Members rushed to the scene, cordoned off the area and recovered the body of the missing boy,” said Lt Naidoo. A case of murder is being investigated by Phoenix SAPS.

The funeral service of Shahiel was held on Monday, 9 February 2015 at 1pm at Clayhaven Primary School in Phoenix. Thousands of mourners cried out in anger and empathy as the 9-year old’s body was carried high into the marquee erected on the school ground.

KZN MEC for Human Settlement, Ravi Pillay reiterated the anger of the community. “My heart is filled with pain and anger. But the anger that the community feels should be channeled in a manner to ensure that such an incident does not happen again. Justice must be done and there must be consequences for the crime

committed,” he said. eThekwini Speaker, Logie Naidoo, called on the community to reflect on social ills.

Source: Tabloid Media, report by Rachel Vadi/Ruth Majola