THE five suspects who were involved with the kidnapping of 13-month-old baby Eden Laird reappeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on August 1.
The case is now being transferred to the regional court and has been postponed until August 7 to set a date for the regional court.
Cleopatra Manjankozi (employed as domestic worker of the Laird family), Kholwani Nyathi, Amos Moyo, Maduna Nonkanyiso and Nelisini Gabela are facing charges of schedule six kidnapping and blackmailing.
On May 2, Manjankozi took little Eden for a walk from his home in Brackendowns and never returned. They both were reported missing on the same day.
Police immediately launched an intelligence-driven operation, keeping close tabs on the numerous phone calls where suspects demanded a R6-million ransom from the parents, in return for the safe release of the child. Taking cue from the Police Hostage Negotiator, police arrested the initial two suspects at the ransom drop-off point in Ekurhuleni West.
Further investigations led police to Windmill Park where the domestic worker and another suspected co-conspirator were also arrested. The fifth suspect was arrested in Katlehong, where a vehicle was seized on suspicion of having been used in the commission of the crime.
The Provincial Commissioner of Police in Gauteng, Lieutenant General Deliwe de Lange, has now sanctioned an immediate further investigation by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS), towards securing a successful conviction by the court.
Supporters of the Laird family again wore white shirts with the words “Justice for baby Eden” in court.
Nonkanyiso again appeared with her baby girl as the baby is still in prison with her mother because she has no other caretaker.
Magistrate Marie Haulson postponed the case and said that no bail is set for the suspects.
Four out of the five suspects are illegal immigrants and one is a South African citizen. The three men will be detained in Boksburg Prison and the two women and the baby in Johannesburg Prison.
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