The father of missing 20-month-old Orderick Lucas struggled to hold back his tears following the disappearance and possible death of his child.
Kounkou Dziendelet sat in the home of his partner’s mother this week, a street away from where the body of a little boy was discovered in a drain on Tuesday.
Police have yet to confirm that the body is that of Orderick.
Dziendelet was not able to reveal whether he believed that his partner, Davedine Lucas, was involved in his son’s disappearance.
“I cannot answer that. I have twins that I now need to worry about.”
Minutes later, Dziendelet said he believed that Lucas was innocent.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila confirmed that Melvin Volkwyn, a friend of Lucas, and another suspect were arrested and appeared in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
“Volkwyn appeared in court on charges of kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice.
"His case was postponed to April 9 for bail information. Charges against the other man were withdrawn as he was not linked to the crimes Volkwyn is accused of,” said Ntabazalila.
Dziendelet said he had been in a relationship with Lucas for more than 10 years.
The couple also have 6-year-old twin boys while Lucas has a 12-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.
He spoke candidly about Lucas’ drug use and said she had been using tik and mandrax from the time he first met her. Lucas herself admitted to her drug use.
Orderick disappeared from the wendy house that Dziendelet and Lucas share in Melton Rose, Kleinvlei, on March 24, but was only officially reported missing on March 28.
Lucas’ version of events is that she had asked Volkwyn to remove Orderick from her Tecoma Street home as she was trying to evade a mob which had accused her of stealing a cellphone.
The boy and his twin brothers usually stayed with their grandmother, Cornelia Scheepers, in Palm Park, but she was celebrating her 50th birthday that weekend and had asked her daughter and Dziendelet to look after Orderick during the festivities.
Scheepers said that social workers had removed the children from Lucas’ care because of her drug use.
The only financial assistance she received for looking after her three grandchildren was from Dziendelet, employed as a security guard at a shop in Stellenbosch.
According to Lucas, Volkwyn had been asked to take her son to a safe place while she sorted out a cellphone issue.
She had intended to meet him later and get Orderick back.
However, Lucas was assaulted and collapsed near her mother’s house while fleeing the angry mob and ended up seeking medical attention at the Eerste River Hospital.
“I bumped into Mel on Monday, and he told me that he took Ordie to my mom’s house. I believed him and thought my child was safe,” said Lucas, fighting back tears.
She worked the following two days and visited her mother’s house later in the week to check up on Orderick, only to discover that the toddler never made it to his grandmother’s house.
“I was running around like a mad thing. I even went to the people who said I stole the phone to see if they had my child. I did not steal the phone and they did not have my child.
“I begged Mel to tell me where my child was. He insisted that he gave Orderick to me earlier in the week, but that was a lie.”
Lucas admitted that she and Volkwyn used drugs together and that she would often leave the child with him while she went to buy drugs.
Lucas said she and Volkwyn had been friends since October.
In the past two weeks, it emerged that Orderick had sustained numerous injuries while in the care of Volkwyn, while his mother was out buying drugs. According to Lucas, Orderick had a burn mark on his cheek, which she believed was caused by a “tik lolly”.
On another occasion, Volkwyn had been expected to take the child to the clinic to have a tooth extracted.
According to Dziendelet and Lucas, four teeth were extracted by Volkwyn himself, using pliers and, despite Volkwyn insisting that he had taken the child to the clinic, the clinic had no record that Orderick was ever there.
During the last incident, Orderick reportedly suffered an arm injury, again in the care of Volkwyn while his mother was out buying drugs.
Lucas vowed that she was off drugs and had been clean for almost two weeks.
Scheepers said she believed in her daughter’s innocence and plans were under way to get Lucas into a rehabilitation centre.
“There are times when I just scream out, ‘forgive me, Ordie, for giving you to Mel on that day’,” said Lucas, crying.
The family has not started making funeral arrangements as they are still awaiting confirmation from the SAPS that the body found in the drain is indeed Orderick’s.