No bail for dad who allegedly kidnapped son until he reveals three-year-old’s whereabouts

It’s been nine months since the abduction of little Liam Nortjé, allegedly by his own father. And there’s no sign or clues as to where the child is.

On Monday the father of Liam (3) was denied bail during a brief appearance in the magistrate’s court in Harrismith, Free State.

Nantes Nortjé (47), who’s been charged with kidnapping his son in November last year, is still refusing to provide police with information as to the boy’s whereabouts. He won’t even say if Liam is alive or dead.

Police found Nantes last month in an informal settlement in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, but there was no sign of Liam.

“He [Nantes] won’t be given bail until the child [Liam] is found,” Sergeant Mmako Mphiring, local police spokesperson, told YOU on Tuesday.

He added the dossier has been sent to the director of public prosecutions for further perusal and instructions. He wasn’t able to supply the date of Nantes’ next court appearance.

“The police are still following any leads that may direct them in finding the child. The latest was in the Harrismith area but we found nothing,” Mphiring said.

Leon van Eck (28), the fiancé of Liam’s mother, Cheinelle Nortjé, told YOU on Wednesday that Nantes’ court appearance on Monday had left her emotional.

“She took it really hard, seeing him again,” Leon said. “She hadn’t expected it.”

In an earlier interview with YOU, Cheinelle said Nantes allegedly took their son after she’d told him she wanted a divorce. At the time of the alleged kidnapping the couple had been estranged for some time – mainly, she said, because for years he hadn’t done anything to try to find a job in order to provide for his family. According to her, he’d spend all day in his underwear at home playing computer games.

In her interview Cheinelle became emotional, saying all she wanted was to know where her child is. She’d also expressed anxiety about the day Nantes might be granted bail.

“I’m afraid he’ll go straight to where Liam is and do something to himself and to Liam – and then we’ll never know where Liam is,” she said.

Tania Opperman of South Africa Support Initiative (SASI), a non-profit organisation specialising in finding missing persons, has been supporting Cheinelle and her other two daughters, 15 and 18 years old. Opperman’s asked members of the public to be on the lookout for Liam.

“We want to ask everyone to help us find Liam,” she said. “So far police have failed to make any progress. There’s also no information from his dad.

“We want to ask people to be on the lookout in their immediate environment – with their neighbours, friends and family. Whoever is hiding Liam must realise they can be arrested too. SASI thanks everyone who’s helped so far for their efforts and ask that people continue to help searching.”