THE macabre discovery of a 14-year- old Nelson Mandela Bay pupil’s naked body in an unplugged freezer yesterday has police baffled.
Lovemore Park Grade 7 pupil Lukhanyo Kolisi suffocated after allegedly hiding in the freezer in his family’s Walmer township shack in an attempt to bunk school on Tuesday.
However, police have not ruled out murder at this stage.
Lukhanyo’s body, covered in flour, was found by his mother at 5am yesterday. She uses the old freezer to store groceries and had opened it to take out rice.
"He was just lying inside the freezer with no clothes on,” his mother, Janine Ncede, 32, said yesterday.
"When I saw him, I screamed and then [his stepfather] John [Ncede] rushed over and picked him up.
"There was nothing we could do. He was already dead.
"I then called the police. I really don’t know how this could have happened.”
Ncede, 37, said his stepson had last been seen getting ready for school on Tuesday morning. "My wife leaves at about 6am to go to work and I leave at about 7am,” he said.
"When we left, he was inside the house getting ready for school.
"Usually, he goes to school with his two sisters [aged nine and five].
"But he was running late, so they left before him.
"They came home later that afternoon and told his mother he had not been in school.”
Ncede said he had had "a long chat” with Lukhanyo on Monday after learning he had skipped school last week.
"He denied it and told me he wanted to be a vet.
"I told him he had to go to school, work hard and get good grades,” Ncede said.
"Last week, I gave him money for school fees, but the school phoned me earlier this week asking for the money.
"I am not sure if he did not want to go to school because he knew we would eventually find out that he had not given them the money, or what the reason was.”
Distraught mom Janine said she had stayed up until 11pm on Tuesday waiting for her son to return home.
She had eventually gone to sleep, believing he would return later that night.
When police arrived at the scene, Lukhanyo’s body had been removed from the freezer and placed on the floor in the room.
It is not clear if his clothes were found lying next to the freezer or outside the shack.
Detectives close to the investigation said yesterday there were no marks on the inside of the freezer indicating the teenager had tried to escape.
Police spokeswoman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said police were investigating the circumstances of the boy’s death.
"At this stage, we are investigating an inquest case but it could change to murder later, depending on the evidence,” she said.
"We will have to see what emerges.
"Detectives are awaiting forensic results and for the post-mortem to be conducted. There are no visible wounds on his body.”
The post-mortem will be carried out today.
"We cannot comment on how he got into the freezer as we are still trying to ascertain this,” Janse van Rensburg said.