Siam Lee went missing from this Durban North house and was found dead in a farm in New Hanover two days later. She was in the sex trade industry with her mother, Carmen Nan Lee. 
Graphic: Wade Geduldt / African News Agency (ANA)
Siam Lee went missing from this Durban North house and was found dead in a farm in New Hanover two days later. She was in the sex trade industry with her mother, Carmen Nan Lee. Graphic: Wade Geduldt / African News Agency (ANA)

‘Cover-up, lies and deceit’ in Siam killing

By Nabeelah Shaik Time of article published Mar 4, 2018

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DURBAN - A SEX worker and former colleague who lived with murdered Siam Lee has claimed her alleged killer was a drug kingpin in the industry, and fears that the ongoing investigation is mired in a cover-up.

“He was not a client or a stalker. He manufactured crystal meth (methamphetamine) and was well known in sex and drug circles. I had known him even before I started to work at the Margaret Maytom Avenue house,” said the 31-year-old woman who asked not be named.

She did, however, say she wanted to testify in the Lee murder trial as a witness, but no statement had been taken from her, either by police officers or private investigators.

Lee went missing from the house in Durban North on January 4. Her charred body was found two days later on a farm in New Hanover.

While private investigator Brad Nathanson initially reported that Lee’s abduction and murder was possibly related to a drug debt, he said further information gathered following the accused’s arrest did not support this theory.

“This guy was a serial sex pest,” said Nathanson.

But in an hour-and-a-half-long recorded interview with the Sunday Tribune, the sex worker said unless police probed the link to drugs, the real reason Lee was killed may never be revealed.

“It has been a cover-up with lies and deceit from the start,” she said.

The woman said the man charged with her murder was well known to everyone who worked at the house.

The programme at Siam Lee's funeral.

She said Lee had also been expecting the accused on the day as he was meant to drop off a “package”. “Siam knew he was coming to the house. That’s why she went out barefoot, cellphone in hand,” said the woman.

She had left the house earlier, and received a phone call an hour later to say Lee had been abducted. She said a story was then fabricated that Lee had been abducted from inside the house to make it seem as though the accused was an obsessed client.

“The docket has been passed on to three police investigators and none of them has interviewed me or the other girls. Yet we lived and worked in the same house as Siam and her mother. We knew exactly what went on prior to Lee’s death,” she said.

The woman, who has been receiving threats via SMS and WhatsApp, which the Sunday Tribune has seen, in an attempt to silence her, claimed that Lee’s mother, Carmen Nan Lee, knew more about what happened than what she had told police.

Carmen said she was not prepared to comment on the sex worker’s allegations as “too many stories had already been going around”.

Murder victim, Siam Lee

A family friend said if the woman had information, she should go to the police, not the press.

The sex worker said she often blamed herself for Lee’s death.

“In a way, I feel as if this was my fault because I should have done more to get her out of the business. She was young and beautiful. She didn’t need it to end this way. She had options, and had confided in me. One of those options was to get out of the sex trade. She only did what she did to please her mother,” she said.

“I witnessed for myself what Siam went through, and it wasn’t the life she wanted. She was forced into it by those meant to protect her, and that hurts me the most. She was such a bright girl with a kind-hearted nature.

“I used to watch in disbelief when we were sometimes sitting together and having a drink, and how Siam would put her hand around a fly to protect it, and would then free it just so it didn’t get hurt.

“Her life was taken too soon,” said the woman.

GRIEVING MOM: Siam Lee’s mother, Carmen Nan Lee, at Stellawood Cemetery yesterday for the funeral of her daughter.

On Friday, a private funeral was held at the Stellawood Crematorium for the 20-year-old following the release of DNA results positively identifying the charred body as that of the former Crawford College pupil.

A memorial service will be held on a beach once her ashes are handed over to her family.

The 29-year-old man accused of Lee’s murder will appear in court again this week for a bail hearing. The self-proclaimed biochemist was arrested on January 17 and charged with several offences, including murder, kidnap and rape.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said the docket was investigated by the Durban North detectives and then transferred to the provincial task team.

“This is a court docket. It is not up to the public to direct the police on how to investigate. Allegations that police conducted a shoddy investigation are baseless and an insult since the matter is in court and the accused in custody,” said Mbhele.


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