Psychics join Lee search. Help or hindrance?
Police are acting on a number of psychic mediums' tip-offs as they struggle to find any leads on toddler's whereabouts
In the search to find missing Roodepoort toddler Liyaqat “Lee” Mentoor, 3, police have even accepted help from a number of psychic mediums as they struggle to find any leads that could point to his whereabouts. Sadly, a search on Wednesday based on the reading of one of the psychics yielded no results.
Lee was reported missing on March 16. He was last known to have been at the home of Onke Hartin Mashinini, his mother Kaylah Mentoor’s boyfriend.
Mashinini, 29, has been charged with murder after two drops of blood that DNA testing confirmed belonged to Lee were found on the floor of a bathroom in the house.
According to police, five mediums – four local and one from overseas – have since the disappearance been in contact with law enforcement.
Some of the places pointed out by the psychics have similar features, and are all in the Roodepoort area.Captain Sonja Prinsloo, spokesperson for Roodepoort SAPS, said on Wednesday that SAPS Search and Rescue K9 units were conducting a search using specially trained dogs at the Kloofendal Nature Reserve in Roodepoort after the area was pointed out by one of the mediums.
However, it yielded no results.
Family spokesperson Estelle Delport on Wednesday said the family had not been aware of the search being conducted. She explained that previously police would inform the family a search was ongoing, but not beforehand and would not always say exactly where.“Every time a lead is followed up, we are afraid to get our hopes up until something is found,” she said.
“We are hoping all the time, but we are not going to hold our breath.”
And while Lee remains missing, for his 23-year-old mother Kaylah and her family, only the faintest glimmer of hope remains that he will ever be found alive.
“I can’t deal with it, I really can’t. I can’t even explain how I am feeling,” Kaylah said on Tuesday.
“He’s my only baby. It’s hard – I try not to be emotional and cry. I haven’t cried in a long time but yesterday, yesterday was really hard,” she said, referring to Mother's Day.
“I hear it over and over again, that he could possibly not be alive. But when someone with authority said it, it hit me,” she said.
Kaylah lives in a state of extremes – from being filled with hope that Lee will be found, to despair that he may be dead. But not knowing for sure what happened has left the young mother in a state of shock.Times Select understands that key indicators police were searching for on Wednesday was a large black rock near electrical wires - and spider nests near a footpath.
A police helicopter was also deployed and swept the area.
“There are no other leads as to where Lee could be,” Prinsloo said.
“We have searched every greenbelt in this area and found nothing. At this stage we are literally following up on every piece of information we get – even from the mediums. We cannot leave any stone unturned.”
Prinsloo did not feel that acting on the medium’s tip-offs was a desperate act by police.
“This case is extremely difficult. There are no solid leads that we could follow [to find him], nothing that takes us from this step to the next,” she explained.
“Most of the searches have been conducted based on the initiative of SAPS, and the information from the mediums.”Times Select spoke to one medium based in Johannesburg who was asked to join Lee’s case late in April. She requested not to be named.
The medium has passed information on to police but was hesitant to share with Times Select everything she has seen as it could jeopardise the case, she explained.
She walked Times Select through the process she usually goes through to provide police with information.
“Some mediums need a photograph or an object belonging to the person, but I don’t work that way. I was asked by an independent person to look into this case and I agreed.
“People who have crossed over have a very different energy from those that are missing but are still alive. In this case I connected with him [Lee] ... and was able to ask him questions.“But it was not an exact science,” she explained.
“Usually I get descriptions of what they can see. Working with police we need to then match what I see with logic. This can then lead to tangible evidence which police can act on.”
She added that the work of a medium was also made difficult by the legal implications of speaking openly about what they see.
“In this case the police were very welcoming, which is not always the case. But one has to be careful in what you say openly. I can discuss the details with police without prejudice but publicly one cannot make allegations without substantial proof. Until the police prove it, it’s all hearsay.”
Police in South Africa have a history of working with mediums. Most recently, the SAPS agreed to dig underneath a stormwater pipe on Blythedale Beach in northern KwaZulu-Natal in search of two or three victims of paedophile Gert van Rooyen.
The search was also based on information from a medium, but nothing was found.
•Mashinini is still in police custody after waiving his rights to bail. He will appear in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court again on May 24 on charges of kidnapping, negligence and defeating the ends of justice, as well as the murder charge.