DNA tests on a decomposed body found in Imizamo Yethu last month has confirmed the news Hout Bay been has been dreading to hear.
The decomposed body is that of three-year-old Anothando Mhlobo, who went missing in August last year.
His disappearance set off one of the largest searches in Hout Bay’s history, with search operations going viral via social media and the community coming together to search for the missing boy.
He was last seen alive outside his Mandela Park home on August 10.
Hout Bay police investigated the identity, gender and cause of death following the discovery of a body of a child found in Imizamo Yethu last month by a member of the community.
Western Cape police spokesperson, Brigadier Novela Potelwa, explained at the time that due to the decomposition of the body, police had been unable to properly identify it.
“An autopsy is expected to be conducted soon to determine the cause of death. Meanwhile DNA testing will also be done to ascertain if the body is that of Anothando Mhlobo from the area who went missing in August,” she said at the time.
But the Hout Bay Community Policing Forum has since released a statement confirming the identity of the body.
“It is with great sadness that we can confirm that DNA results have positively identified the body of the young child discovered in IY on December 23, 2020, as Anothando Mhlobo.”
The post mortem is still under investigation to determine the cause of death.
Meanwhile, the IY community is in complete shock and the news has sent a deafening silence through IY.
Resident, Luyanda Khanya, said many people had been hoping to see little Anothando again, hoping he’d bring some hope into their community.
“When he went missing, we never saw so many people trying to search for him. A lot of people thought he will come back and bring some hope to us, but God’s plan are better and God had a better plan for him,” the mother of three said.
“We all can learn something from this, especially those who have children.”
Patrick Mbongwe was among the residents who joined the search parties. He said he never gave up the search for Anothando and only stopped when he heard about the body which had been found in December.
“There were other people also still looking for him and asking about him, because he went missing just like that and some people could not just accept that,” he said.
Mr Mbongwe said he could not contain his tears when police removed the body and immediately his heart sunk.
“I did not want to believe it, but when I stood at the scene watching police, my heart told me it was him. It was little Anothando that was finally found,” he said.
Kim Worrall headed up search operations and sent out desperate cries for help via social media, regularly updating the public on the search for Anothando.
The news of the discovery of his body, she said, left her “heartbroken and devastated”. “Can’t even bear thinking about what this little boy must have endured,” she said.
“I am still very angry that the tracker dogs weren’t deployed till Wednesday afternoon when Anothando was reported missing on the Monday,” she said.
“Not a week has gone by since the search that I haven’t been contacted by someone asking if there is an update,” said Ms Worrall.
“I hope he knows there are thousands of people, strangers, who cared deeply.”
She applauded the efforts of the community and especially the women looking after and feeding vulnerable children in the community.
“I spoke to several ladies who did this for quite a few children and also did this for Anothando. You are such angels in the community and I thank you for what you do,” adding: “Please don’t stop helping those who need it.”
Anothando’s family was not ready to speak to Sentinel News at the time of going to print.