Hunt for six-year-old’s killers

2009-03-15 00:00

THE key to solving the brutal murder of six-year-old Raylin Devnarain and the attack on his mother, Pradantha Devnarain (28), is gardener Zamo Eric Hadebe, the police have said.

Hadebe was the last person believed to have been in the Devnarains’ yard in Primrose Road, Northdale, and the police believe he may provide information critical to solving the case.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said police are following some positive leads on the identity of the alleged attackers, and arrests are expected soon. He said investigators are hoping to track down Hadebe, who worked for the Northdale mother.

It is believed that the suspects may have had access to the house before the attack. Devnarain’s sister, Dhanashree Bhikshu, told The Witness that a set of spare keys may have been used to gain entry.

“A set of spare keys that my sister kept hidden were found [by a family member] on top of the bed. Nobody ever knew where these keys were kept except my sister. The person who took them out from where they were hidden must have had free access into the house earlier and I believe they were used to enter the house.”

While the motive for the attack is not clear, the police are exploring all possibilities. Last week, Devnarain’s 37-year-old ex-boyfriend was questioned, but was not arrested.

Bhikshu told The Witness that Devnarain had heated arguments with both Hadebe and his girlfriend, who was also Devnarain’s domestic worker.

“My sister had been unhappy with the employee’s conduct for a while and on Sunday [March 8] it was her last straw.”

The woman left the house that day and Devnarain told Hadebe that she did not want his girlfriend to come back “unless she changed her attitude”.

A party was being held at the house that day and according to Bhikshu, her sister told Hadebe to return the next day (Monday) to remove chairs that were being used for the party. “That was the last time Hadebe was supposed to be in the house because he only comes in on Saturdays to wash the car.”

However, neighbours allege that they saw two men in the yard on Thursday afternoon.

Devnarain and her son had just arrived at home and were having dinner when they were attacked on Thursday night. Pizza boxes and leftovers were found in the house.

Neighbours said they saw Devnarain’s car arriving at about 7 pm, but nothing suspicious was heard. On Friday morning two men were seen fleeing the house in Devnarain’s white Citi Golf. The car was tracked by a Netstar helicopter and was found near Table Mountain that afternoon.

Police are appealing to anyone who may be able to assist with the whereabouts of Hadebe to contact Inspector Sizwe Makhathini at 082 925 2582 or Crime Stop at the toll-free number 08600 10111.

sandilez@witness.co.za

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