Souith Africa Durban-29-08-18: Parents ,relatives and the community picketing outside the Magistrate court ,when the man suspected of abducting Miguel Louw (10) in Sydneham in July appeared in court yesterday Picture Bongani Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)

DURBAN – Miguel Louw, the missing nine-year-old Sydenham schoolboy who was kidnapped and murdered earlier this year, “most likely” died from “suffocation”, the Durban Regional Court heard on Wednesday.

This was according to investigating officer Rajan Govender, who was testifying at the bail application of Louw’s alleged killer, 43-year-old unemployed butcher, Mohammed Ebrahim.

Govender was responding to questions from Ebrahim’s attorney, Chris Gounden.

Govender said that because of the severe decomposition of the child’s body, the exact cause of death could not be determined, but according to the pathologist, the child was “most likely suffocated”.

The date of the boy’s death was not reflected on the post mortem, said Govender, who postulated that Louw might have been killed soon after he was kidnapped.

According to Govender, the pathologist had determined that the child’s body was discovered about four weeks after he was buried. This would put the time of his death around the time he was last seen with Ebrahim.

But Gounden said it was speculation that the child was killed on the day he went missing.

This was the second day of Ebrahim’s appearance for bail on the murder charge, which started last week. Ebrahim, slightly built and difficult to hear and understand, had previously been charged with kidnapping Louw. He was released on bail for the kidnapping charge before being rearrested and charged with murder.

At his appearance last week, Ebrahim said that Louw’s mother, Raylene, was his “girlfriend”.

Ebrahim said he stayed at the Louw home for “two or three days a week” for just under three months prior to Louw’s disappearance.

He did odd jobs around the house and property to pay his way, he said, and was getting to know the family. The State alleges that Ebrahim kidnapped Louw because Raylene had spurned his romantic advances.

Gounden told the court on Wednesday that Ebrahim still maintained he was in a romantic relationship with Raylene, but Govender said that the woman continued to deny the allegation. The two had worked together at the same Phoenix-based butchery.

Louw went missing on July 17 near his school in Sydenham, with CCTV footage revealing he was last seen in the company of Ebrahim at a fast food outlet, where Ebrahim bought him a snack.

Ebrahim said last week that this was the last time he saw Louw, as he soon left alone to catch a taxi into the city and then to Phoenix.

The alleged area that Louw disappeared from is about 25 kilometres from where his badly decomposed body was eventually discovered in Phoenix, in a shallow grave, on September 3. The corpse was found about 100 metres from where Ebrahim kept a small residence on his parent’s property.

The body was verified as Louw’s nine days after it was discovered via fast tracking of DNA samples taken from his parents.

Ebrahim has denied all of the charges, saying he was fond of the boy.

The hearing continues on Thursday morning, where closing arguments will be heard.

African News Agency (ANA)