These 5 months have been like 5 years: Mom of missing 3-year-old
The last time Kaylah Mentoor saw her three-year-old son, he was crying because she had to go to work.
She assured him that he should not worry, and that she would see him again that night.
But she never did.
That was more than five months ago, but Mentoor still hopes that her son, Liyaqat Akheem, known as Lee, is alive and that one day she will be reunited with him. But the chances are fading.
No body has been found, but Mentoor's ex-boyfriend, Onke Mashinini, has been charged with Lee's murder.
Mashinini claims he dropped the boy off at his grandparents' house. He says that outside the house two people claiming to be relatives bundled Lee into a car and drove off.
However, police found traces of Lee's blood in the bathtub in Mashinini's house in Roodepoort. At the time he and Mentoor were living together.
Police believe they can secure a murder conviction, despite there being no body. Mashinini is also charged with kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice.
Mentoor's aunt Estelle Mentoor said some people had called on the family to hold a memorial for Lee, but they still believe there is a chance he is alive.
"We have hope that we will find him, but we are worried that wherever he is, who is keeping him? How did he survive in this cold winter? These are just some of the unanswered questions we have. But we can't have a memorial for him, no, for what and why?"
Mentoor, 23, told the Sunday Times that she had last seen her son on March 15.
"I was preparing to go to work. Each time I left for work he would wake up and cry but I would tell him not to worry as mom will come back and be with him... that was not to be."
She broke down, and could not finish talking.
"She's very young to go through this," said her aunt. "She opted to stay at the Mashininis' home when her stepfather was not treating her well and I believe that if she was still at home, with her mother, this would have been a different story.
"These five months have been like five years in this family. Lee's disappearance has left the family devastated... we are all not the same.
"If [Mashinini] can tell us where Lee is, where his body is, if he's killed him or who the strangers are who drove off with him, then we would have closure.
"We are in the process of registering a foundation, the Liyaqat Lee Foundation, which will help other parents who have gone through this," Estelle said.
"You don't feel it until it happens to you. He was a shy person. Even when he visited his cousins he would sit with his mom. I don't understand how he would have gone with strangers."..