- Orderick Lucas' grandmother testified that on the day he was reported missing, murder accused Melvin Volkwyn had refused to walk past the stormwater drain in Wittebol Street, Melton Rose.
- The child's decomposing body was later discovered there by children trying to retrieve their ball.
- Cornelia Scheepers said Orderick never gave any indication that he was afraid of Volkwyn and was always glad to see the accused.
The day little Orderick Lucas was reported missing, murder accused Melvin Volkwyn refused to pass the drain where the toddler's body would later be found, his legal guardian testified in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.
Cornelia Scheepers, Orderick's grandmother in whose care the children's court had placed the little boy and his twin brothers, said the day the 22-month-old's disappearance was reported to the Kleinvlei police station in March 2019, she, her daughter Davedine Lucas and Volkwyn had been questioned until late into the night.
"The three of us walked together from the police station to my house. When we got to the street where I live, to the drain, he decided he wasn't going to sleep there anymore," she said.
He had been meant to spend the night at the Scheepers' home as they had to be back at the police station early the following morning. She feared they would run away as they were unable to account for the whereabouts of the little boy.
"[In Wittebol Street], he [couldn't] walk past the drain. That's the drain where the baby was discovered - in Wittebol Close."
Sitting in the dock, Volkwyn, with whom Davedine did drugs, shook his head and stared at the ground.
Davedine had lost custody of her three sons after foul play was suspected when Orderick's arm was broken. She claimed that this happened while he was in Volkwyn's care, while the accused alleged she had told him she broke it accidentally when she jerked him up by his arm.
Scheepers said in the week after his disappearance, Davedine would wake up in the middle of the night in tears.
She didn't know what her daughter meant by what she said.
Orderick had gone missing that Sunday, 24 March 2019, the day of Scheepers' 50th birthday party. He had spent the weekend with his mother, contravening a children's court order which only allowed her supervised visits.
His severely decomposed body was found on 2 April when a group of children had tried to retrieve their ball from the stormwater drain near his grandmother's home.
Davedine had reported her son missing on the Thursday. She said Volkwyn had told her the Monday he had dropped her son with Scheepers, but when she went to her mother's three days later, she was told Orderick had never arrived.
His mom denies getting Orderick back from Volkwyn, or giving him permission to retrieve him from the friend she had left him with that Sunday when she had been attacked by a mob who accused her of stealing a cellphone.
Scheepers said she didn't have a good relationship with her daughter, who she had put out of her house at the age of 15. She had been a new mom and left her two-month-old infant with Scheepers while she was gone for three days.
Scheepers and the little girl's paternal grandmother had raised the child on their own.
She said contrary to the testimony of her daughter's partner, Doukoucia Kounkou Dziendelet, he was aware that Davedine was a drug user as he had many times told her about the things she stole.
She conceded that she was aware that Davedine used illegal substances and was not considered a responsible parent.
And while Davedine was allowed to visit the children, Scheepers said she would not allow her daughter into her house because she stole from her.
She said she had been told by social services that on the occasion where she had to work on Saturdays, she may leave the children only with their mother. Scheepers said she had left the three minors with Davedine after she told the social workers right from the start of her guardianship that she would have her 50th birthday in March.
Volkwyn has pleaded not guilty to the murder of little Orderick. According to his version, he had given the child back to his mother.
Defence advocate Susan Kuun said her client would argue that he had passed the child to Davedine over his wall and that the little boy had been wearing a soiled nappy, which he had covered with a plastic bag when he returned him to his mom.
Scheepers confirmed to the court that Volkwyn would bath Orderick and play with him when he came over to her house and her grandson never gave any indication that he was scared of him.
"He was always glad to see Melvin," she testified.
The trial continues on Wednesday.