Suspects lie on the ground after police found Durban North resident Dorothy Carlyle alive in the boot of her car. She had been hijacked in the driveway of her home nine hours earlier.

Durban - As Durban North estate agent Dorothy Carlyle lay bound and gagged under a metal frame and a blanket in the boot of her car, she listened to her captors’ party outside. She concentrated on breathing, staying conscious and focused on the sound of what she hoped was a rescue helicopter.

But then the sound faded and she heard shots. She was convinced she was going to die.

But it was the police, firing warning shots. With the help of private detective agency Specialised Services Group, Marshall Security and tracking company Netstar, they had finally found her, nine hours after she had been hijacked in the driveway of her Cadogan Place home.

Two female teenagers, both aged 15, who were guarding her, were arrested along with one of the three men in their twenties who are alleged to have hijacked her. Two others ran away.

Bruised and emotionally battered, Carlyle, who turns 60 on Saturday, was kept sedated at uMhlanga Hospital on Wednesday while her two daughters and other relatives and friends kept vigil.

Her son, Mark, arrived at lunchtime after a hellish overnight flight from London. When he boarded the plane his mother was missing and he did not know that she had been found alive until he landed in the morning.

In an interview on Wednesday, Carlyle’s daughters Lauren Miller, who is visiting from George, and Brooke Carlyle said their mother had left home after lunch to go to work.

In hindsight they remember hearing screams, but thought it was the children next door

. It was only at 5.30pm, when their mother had not returned home and her office said she had not arrived there, that they became alarmed.

Miller called the police, but initially she could not get anyone to take her seriously.

A friend of the family got involved, hiring the private detective, and the security company also became involved. At one stage, there were also about 50 people at the family home, praying for Carlyle’s safe return.

Miller said it was 11.30pm when they were told their mother had been found alive. They dashed to the hospital to meet her.

“She was so emotional. But she told us everything,” Miller said.

Carlyle told her children that, as she got to her car, she was accosted by three men with “big knives”. One took the car keys and the other two pushed her down in the back of her silver BMW. They forced her to disclose her PIN number and they withdrew money at ATMs.

“She said many people got in and out of the car and she was being shown off like a trophy. They tied her up… They slapped her if she spoke and they stabbed her with a screwdriver,” Miller said.

At one stage a young boy, about 12, was in the car with her and she asked him for water. He asked his mother, who refused. He also referred to a man in the car as “dad”.

When she was found in her boot, the car was parked outside a tavern in KwaMashu.

“She heard what she believed was infighting in Zulu, but she heard the word ‘witness’. She believed they were arguing about who was going to kill her,” Miller said.

Mark Carlyle said: “My mom is a strong woman. But regardless of that, this is something that she will struggle to get over. I want to ensure that there are no glitches and that those responsible are brought to book, so that this does not happen to anyone else.”

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed that three suspects would appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on charges of kidnapping and hijacking. - The Mercury