Six-year-old Justin and two-year-old Tyress Phale went missing from their home in Soul City on Thursday afternoon at around 2 pm, shortly after being given lunch by their mother, Patricia Phale.
Phale said on Sunday that she was busy with laundry when the yard “went quiet”.
“I called the two boys but got no response. I started searching in the streets and neighbouring houses but could not find them anywhere. Several community members joined in the search, which continued late into the night, but my two boys were nowhere to be found.”
Phale said that she reported the children missing to the police on Thursday night.
On Friday morning the frantic search for the two young boys continued, with community members and neighbours joining in the search, which again carried on late into the night.
“All I could do was to pray that my two boys were still alive, wherever they were,” Phale, who admitted to being completely frantic at that time, said.
On Saturday morning, after returning home after another fruitless search, some community members came to the house to enquire about buying a Mercedes-Benz vehicle that was parked at the back of the house.
The owner of the vehicle, Ben Commando, who, while travelling to Johannesburg in another vehicle, had turned around to assist in the search for the boys, said that while showing the car to the interested buyers he knocked lightly on the boot, when he heard someone knocking back from the inside.
“I then realised that the children were inside the boot and ran into the house to find the car keys and inserted a battery into the vehicle to open the boot, which can only be done while the vehicle is switched on. The boys were alive and well and only complained about being thirsty,” Commando said.
Phale and Commando both said that it was unclear how the children got into the boot or how long they were inside and how they were able to survive in the confined space.
“The boot was locked shut and there were no signs of a disturbance (opening or closing of the boot) and even I struggled for a while to get it open after finding the keys. How they got in there no one will know,” Commando said.
“That they are alive is truly a miracle. It could have easily been a huge tragedy.”
Phale said that medical personnel at a local hospital, where the boys were taken after they were found, were surprised to find that both had “lots of oxygen” in their lungs and did not appear to be dehydrated.
Neither of the boys has indicated how, or when, they got locked in the boot and their disappearance remains a mystery to their family.
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