DURBAN - Raylene and Miguel’s father, Kirk, appeared numb during the service at Rippon Primary School, opposite the local takeaway outlet where Miguel was last seen on July 17.
Kirk occasionally put his head in his hands, his eyes haunted.
During the service, Miguel’s classmates released nine balloons while the whole school sang Heal The World by Michael Jackson. Behind them fluttered a poster offering the reward for Miguel’s safe return.
Police Minister Bheki Cele attended the service and, when he went to console the family, Raylene’s composure broke.
Tears ran down her face, displaying the anguish she and the family have been through since Miguel’s disappearance.
After the service, Cele and senior police officials held a private meeting with the family, including grandmother Arlene Paul.
That was followed by a press briefing at which Cele said a charge of murder may now be added to the kidnapping charge for the suspect arrested in the case, Mohammed Ebrahim.
Ebrahim was granted bail of R2500, but it was not paid and he remained behind bars. Cele said that the authorities would now seek to revoke his bail.
Ebrahim, who was known to the family, was seen on CCTV footage outside a local takeaway with Miguel. It was the last time Miguel was seen alive and police arrested Ebrahim three days later.
Miguel’s small body was found in a park in Phoenix last week, just metres away from the accused’s home and a DNA test confirmed it was Miguel earlier this week.
Ebrahim is expected back in court on Monday.
During and after the memorial, Cele spoke of the scourge of missing children and urged parents to take extra care with regard to their children’s safety. He said parents should work with schools, implementing strategies such as a submissions register of responsible adults who can pick up a child at school with the parents’ permission.
He acknowledged that, in many missing child cases, suspects were known to the families and “in this case the suspect was not a stranger”.