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Meet the private eye who helped find Siam Lee’s alleged killer

Sunday Times

19 January 2018

BY SUTHENTIRA GOVENDER

 

Private investigator Brad Nathanson vowed not to shave until there was an arrest in the Siam Lee murder case. On Thursday morning the Durban-based PI was finally able to put a blade to his two-week-old beard.

Late on Wednesday, police arrested a 30-year-old businessman in the petro-chemical industry in connection with Siam’s kidnapping and murder. Nathanson was roped into the high-profile case by Siam’s paternal family in Australia.

Police spokesman Thulani Zwane confirmed that an arrest had been made in Assagay, west of Durban.

Lee’s relatives positively identified her remains last week‚ several days after her burnt body was found in a sugarcane field in New Hanover in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. The mysterious disappearance of the 20-year-old woman exposed a secret brothel in a posh Durban neighbourhood.

She had last been seen outside a house‚ barefoot and in a summer dress. Initial appeals by her family described an “abduction” from the house by a spurned lover.

 

Police and private inspectors remove a black van from the garage of a house in Assagay, west of Durban, on Wednesday. The vehicle is alleged to have been used in the abduction and murder of 20-year-old Siam Lee.

Police and private inspectors remove a black van from the garage of a house in Assagay, west of Durban, on Wednesday. The vehicle is alleged to have been used in the abduction and murder of 20-year-old Siam Lee. 
Image: PIcture: Supplied
Police and private inspectors remove a black van from the garage of a house in Assagay, west of Durban, on Wednesday. The vehicle is alleged to have been used in the abduction and murder of 20-year-old Siam Lee. 
Image: PIcture: Supplied

“The family called me from Australia and wanted to appoint me to the investigation. Siam’s mother appointed another investigator. That didn’t dissuade us from doing our investigations. This was a case that had to be solved.

“So many people got stuck into this investigation. A couple of days later I got a call informing me that Siam’s body had been found, I burst into tears. It’s the first time in my 38-year career that I did this. This case really touched me, and I didn’t even know this girl,” said Nathanson.

It was then that he vowed not to shave until the suspect was apprehended.

“Just like everybody else, we were running around like headless chickens. So much stuff was coming in and a lot of stuff was going out on social media. Social media is powerful and destructive.”

Nathanson decided to “go back to basics and start from scratch” in his investigation. This led to a major breakthrough.

“Tuesday night we met with an informant who gave us information, including the address of the suspect,” he said.

Nathanson accompanied the police to the address on Wednesday morning. He returned later in the evening, when the man was taken into custody. It is believed he had returned from Johannesburg to Durban.

“He’s very well dressed and very well spoken. He’s a businessman. He has a nice property,” said Nathanson. “I am so happy that this man has been arrested.”

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