South Africa, Durban – Durban High Court judge, Greg Kruger, rules that the police must continue to investigate and find a South African doctor, Kalavani Moodley who, according to court papers, “vanished into thin air” with her 4-year-old son Sebastian, who she allegedly abducted from Denmark.
The respondents in the matter include the minister of police, the police commissioner, and Durban Central SAPS investigating officer Sandile Mhlongo.
“The second and third respondents are directed to diligently and without delay continue to investigate and ascertain the whereabouts of Kalavani Moodley … and once she is traced, take her into custody and bring her before a judge of this court … to give reasons why she should not be held in contempt of court for her failure to comply with the orders of this court,” the court order states.
In court papers, Bjarne Sorensen, the Danish father of the child and Moodley’s former husband, alleged she abducted their son and fled to South Africa in September last year.
Sorensen earlier secured other orders in the Durban High Court which stated that Moodley must return their son to Denmark and that the police should investigate her whereabouts.
Sorensen said in court papers he had met Moodley, who was living in Cape Town at the time, when he visited the city on business in January 2015.
He said they had commenced a relationship and she had relocated to the Scandinavian country to live with him in March 2016. The couple divorced in April last year.
Sorensen said Moodley had sought permission to travel to South Africa with Sebastian for 10 days to attend her brother’s funeral, and he had agreed. However, she had not returned to Denmark with the boy.
Sorensen was granted a Durban High Court order in February ruling that she must return her son to Denmark, and another in October that declared her a “fugitive from justice”, ordering the police to circulate her on its national criminal database. She is also wanted by Interpol.
Sorensen said he had made “enormous efforts” to find her, including hiring a private investigator and attempting to trace her and her mother, Sandrakanthi Moodley, and her sister Deeneshree Moodley through cellphone numbers and bank accounts.
He said he had attempted to open a kidnapping charge against her, but the police had advised him this would not be possible as she was the child’s mother, and instead opened a case of contempt of court.
“I realised that I cannot do this on my own, whether with the assistance of a private investigator or not. I needed the assistance of the police.
“I need the police to make a concerted and conscientious effort to investigate this matter, find Moodley and rescue Sebastian from this terrible situation,” he said.
“No effort has been made to adequately or properly investigate the criminal complaint against Moodley in circumstances where there is an administrative duty to do so.
“I have no idea whether Sebastian is being properly cared for, or whether he is being neglected or abused. For all I know, he could have been trafficked by Moodley, or he may not even be alive.
“As Sebastian’s father I am suffering severe emotional and psychological trauma due to his disappearance … It is the worst thing for a parent to have to endure, not knowing where your child is,” he said.
“The current circumstances in which Sebastian finds himself are of international significance. The Danish authorities have called for Sebastian’s return to the jurisdiction of Denmark and the High Court of South Africa has ordered his return to Denmark.
“Not only has Moodley defied the court orders, but she has also abducted Sebastian and is harbouring him somewhere in an effort to avoid detection. This situation is a gross violation of Sebastian’s conditional rights,” Sorensen said.
In his latest report filed in court, Mhlongo said he had attempted to trace Moodley through a cellphone registered in her mother’s name, but the phone had not been used since the last day she was seen, February 7.
There had also been no new movements on her vehicle.
He said attempts to trace her sister via her bank account activity had led to a dead end as the account had been closed on September 13, 2018. His attempts to trace her via her cellphone number were also unsuccessful.
Mhlongo said Sorensen’s private investigator had provided him with additional cellphone numbers, and he was awaiting reports from the cellphone networks.
“I have also made numerous attempts to get hold of advocate Jay Naidoo, who had promised to arrange for an affidavit from Sandrakanthi Moodley, if not a face-to-face meeting, but to date that has not been fulfilled, even after numerous calls and a text message being sent to the advocate with no response,” Mhlongo said.
He said he was still awaiting reports from Nedbank and Capitec regarding the trio’s bank accounts as the banks were “running a huge backlog”.
He said the investigation was ongoing.
The matter was adjourned to January 22.