A week-long search for Durban North woman Siam Lee ended tragically and horribly on Thursday, with the discovery of her charred, assaulted body on a Midlands sugar cane farm.
A week-long search for Durban North woman Siam Lee ended tragically and horribly on Thursday, with the discovery of her charred, assaulted body on a Midlands sugar cane farm.
Durban - Police compiled an identikit of the man wanted in connection with the gruesome murder of Siam Lee with the help of her mother who had seen him visit the rundown Durban North property where Siam was last seen alive.

A week-long search for the Durban North woman ended tragically and horribly on Thursday, with the discovery of her charred, assaulted body on a Midlands sugar cane farm.

“Her mother had seen this guy a few times at the house,” said investigating officer Captain Raymond Deokran on Friday. 

People who shared the house with Siam said little on Friday when The Independent on Saturday arrived at the Margaret Maytom Avenue property.

A man of East Asian origin, who appeared to speak little English, arrived at the same time as the team.

He referred The Independent on Saturday to the domestic worker and then disappeared after another, flashy, black car arrived at the gate.

The domestic worker said the first man to arrive rented the property from a neighbour.

According to the domestic worker, the house operates as a guest house.

She told The Independent on Saturday that 20-year-old Siam and her mother, Carmen Nan Lee, had rented a room there since last month.

Women residents of the house were vague about Siam’s movements.

One said: “I know about it (her murder) only through the internet. It’s too sad to talk about.”

All of the people at the house declined to be identified.

The property was unkempt. Scars of where there had once been solar power panels were on the roof. Grass had not been cut and a swimming pool stood empty.

Bricks and plastering had been removed from the wall of what looked like a once-elegant archway.

Local Community Policing Forum chairman Hayden Searles said the CPF had conducted “a number of raids on the property over the past couple of years”.

A local resident, who also asked to remain anonymous, described it as a place where there was “a lot of coming and going”.

On Friday afternoon the family’s spokeswoman, Sue Foster, said neither she nor Siam’s family would comment any further.

“We’ve said too much already,” she said.

The Independent on Saturday’s sister newspaper the Daily News reported that Siam’s mother claimed the man she identified to police tried to pursue a relationship with her daughter and he had become aggressive when she declined.

A number of security companies and private investigators joined the search for Siam.

On Thursday, a body found burned on a New Hanover farm was identified as Siam. DNA tests still have to be carried out to confirm the identification.

Last Saturday a farmer reported to police that he had found a body in his field.

Among the searchers were Brad Nathanson, who said he had been contacted by Siam’s mother’s family in Australia, and Mike Myers of Mobi Claw, who saw the case as “an extremely sad story”.

Late on Friday night, Myers posted on the Mobi Claw page: “During the time we investigated, we became close to Siam even not having met her. Stories are floating around social media which we are loath to comment on, what we must realise here is that Siam was a victim and a victim in so many ways.

"Besides being the victim of murder, she was a victim of society and circumstance, circumstances that were almost beyond her control and we should not judge her, judge others by all means, but not Siam, she is the only victim. As cryptic as this may sound, this will become clearer as the case unfolds.

“Our sincerest condolences to all those close to Siam, your wishes and emotional support for her throughout this ordeal shows just how much Siam was loved by so many.”

He was earlier quoted as saying it had “been a very complex investigation that led in so many directions, taking us into the dark underworld”.

Searles added that while busy with the search, his team were very aware of Siam being “someone’s daughter”.

It is believed that Carmen Nan Lee also approached a private investigator to help find her missing daughter.

Grieving friends sent a string of messages over social media to mourn the loss of the former Crawford College pupil who “allegedly left with someone in a black Mercedes Benz Vito/ V-class with unknown GP registration numbers” on January 4, according to police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane.

The identikit of the man police are looking for to assist them in their enquiries has been widely circulated in newspapers and on social media and a case of murder was opened on Friday morning.

Anyone with any information on Siam’s disappearance is asked to contact Captain Raymond Deokaran on 0836322849 or 0315608004, or the police Crime Stop number 08600 10 111.