Simone Lee Mulayen.
Simone Lee Mulayen.

Body of Richard's Bay mom found in veld

By Charlene Somduth Time of article published Nov 11, 2021

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Durban: Before leaving for work, Simone Lee Mulayen kissed her toddler sons and smiled at her mother as she waved goodbye to them. That would be the last time they saw her.

Mulayen, 22, a waitress, from Brackenham, in Richards Bay, was found dead in a veld on Thursday night.

It is alleged she was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Her injuries were so bad that her casket was kept closed during the funeral on Monday.

Melissa Mulayen, her mother, said Simone had finished her shift at the restaurant sometime after 10pm.

"She usually called for a taxi or if she could not get a taxi, she would phone me to arrange for someone to fetch her because it is a 45-minute walk home. The area was also dangerous. On this day, I am not sure what transpired that led her to walk home."

Mulayen said people who had known Simone came to her home after 11pm to inform her that they saw Simone walking on the roadside.

"I questioned why they did not pick her up and they said they were travelling in a friend's vehicle. They left my home and then came back a few minutes later with a shoe belonging to Simone that they found near a veld. I became worried, thinking she had been kidnapped and I went straight to the police station to report the matter."

She told the police that a group of people had found her shoe.

"The police officer contacted one of the members of the group and he took us out to the area where her shoe was found. We searched the veld for less than an hour before her body was found. I could not believe that my baby was dead."

Mulayen said she had many questions about her daughter's death.

"I am hoping the police investigation will help us find closure. I want to know what happened to her. The person responsible must be arrested for what he or she did."

She said her grandsons were aged three and two and did not understand what was going on.

"It is so hard to explain to them that they will never see their mother again. They will never feel her kiss or get a hug. She is a single mother. Simone was in a complicated relationship with the children's father. They were not living together. She worked hard to take care of her sons and provide for them. They were her joy."

Mulayen said Simone was her firstborn.

"Her father (Rajen) died when she was three. She never wanted her children to feel the loss she did. In her last diary entry, she wrote that she wanted her children to have a family. I will do everything to make sure they do."

Mulayen added: "It was painful not being able to see her face for the last time. Her injuries were very bad. The last memory I have of her is her kissing the children and waving goodbye to me with a beautiful smile."

Simone was buried at the Richards Bay Cemetery.

Captain Nqobile Gwala, a provincial police spokesperson, said Richards Bay police were investigating a case of culpable homicide.

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