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Johannesburg - A dead child whose identikit appeared on the front page of The Star has been identified.
Police on Thursday night confirmed that the boy’s mother identified him at a mortuary on Thursday.
She had visited the Katlehong police station after seeing the identikit in The Star, two months after her son’s body was found in an open field at Hlongwane in Ekurhuleni.
Police spokesman Captain Piet Rossouw said the mother had told detectives that the child had not been living with her for a year.
Rossouw could not at this stage reveal any details of the person who had been looking after the child.
“We are currently working on a massive breakthrough. The investigating officer is tracking down the possible murderer(s) in the case,” said Rossouw.
The boy, who is believed to be aged between four and six, was found by a woman walking home around 9pm on August 17.
“I have never seen such a horrible thing in my life,” said the investigating officer, Constable John Lekalakala.
The child’s eyes were swollen and bruised and there was blood on his face and in his mouth.
There were few leads in the case. The child did not appear in the national database for missing children.
Police were able to take fingerprints from the corpse, and these were compared to the Department of Home Affairs database, but nothing came up.
“We thought that maybe we would find a name from the grant system, but that didn’t work either,” said Lekalakala.
A post-mortem revealed a history of abuse.
Last Thursday, the police received a reconstructed image of the child from the Forensic Science Laboratory.
“The victim identification unit had to reconstruct the face without all the bruising so that he could be identified,” said Warrant Officer Polane Mokadi.
The pictures taken from the scene were too gruesome to be shown to the public. “He had old wounds as well, scars all over his body,” said Lekalakala. The boy’s abdomen had burn marks, possibly from cigarette burns and hot water. He also had a previous rib fracture that was still healing.
Mokadi said there was no evidence of sexual abuse. The post-mortem report revealed he had died from a blunt-force head injury.