An ex­tract from The Lost Boys of Bird Is­land

CityPress - - News -

Pae­dophiles in power:

Suzie’s story is oc­cu­py­ing my mind. I turn the recorder on and lis­ten up. She re­calls the night the vic­tim was brought in. About a year ago, I was on night shift. All of a sud­den, this bright light lit up the ward and I heard a he­li­copter out­side. You know that land­ing pad next to the ward – well, it’s right there. And the noise ... just so loud.

Evac­u­ated in­jured sol­diers have been trans­ported by he­li­copter to this hospi­tal be­fore. Suzie says her first thought was that there had been an ac­ci­dent at one of the mil­i­tary bases.

It was 11.30pm.

Five hours later, says Suzie, a pa­tient was brought into the trauma ward af­ter surgery. It was strange be­cause the pa­tient was wheeled into a pri­vate room by three men dressed in grey suits. There was a fourth man – a doc­tor, I think. I’d never seen him be­fore. The pa­tient was on a drip. They never asked me to help.

In the ward, the ma­tron on duty as­sisted the un­known doc­tor. About 40 min­utes later, the doc­tor and the men in suits left. Another man sat out­side the door like a guard. Cu­ri­ous, Suzie checked the ward’s ad­mit­tance regis­ter. I paged through it, but guess what? There’s noth­ing in the regis­ter about this pa­tient. Not even a name. It was like he didn’t ex­ist. I came back on duty later and the regis­ter was still the same. I’m not al­lowed in the ward and the guy in the suit is still sit­ting out­side the room.

Only the ma­tron [of the whites-only hospi­tal] was al­lowed to tend to this pa­tient.

I re­ally wanted to see who was in the room, so I waited un­til the ma­tron went in and timed a walk past as the door opened.

So I look in and I can’t be­lieve what I see. There’s a child in there. A coloured child. He looks about 12. Imag­ine that, Max!

Suzie says the guard had watched her pass the room and had seen her peek­ing in.

Later, the ma­tron calls me in. The guard has told her what I’ve seen and she tells me never, ever to talk to any­one about it.

Then sud­denly the boy was gone. Dis­charged, Suzie says, af­ter a week. But the strangest thing is that there are no records, not one, of the boy’s stay in the hospi­tal.

Then sud­denly the ma­tron is gone. She just dis­ap­peared.

I switch off the recorder. My mind wan­ders back to Wil­liam and what he had told me ear­lier – that there were ru­mours about Wingnut shoot­ing a young­ster in the anus. Now I’m won­der­ing, does this boy in the hospi­tal have any­thing to do with this?

●●●

It’s Mon­day. I’m now tak­ing stock of the Allen case. Two of the sus­pects are dead, both meet­ing their end un­der sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances. Two sus­pects are alive and well. The older of the two broth­ers who first brought me ev­i­dence about “moffie un­cles” can place Allen at the scene of the al­leged sex­ual as­sault.

Find­ing the mys­tery pa­tient would be the fi­nal nail I need to seal the case. If I can get him to tes­tify, then we have Wingnut.

Gordon storms into my of­fice.

“We searched a house in Jef­freys Bay for porno­graphic ma­te­rial,” Gordon says. “At the start of our search, the res­i­dent of the premises threat­ened to re­port us to a cab­i­net min­is­ter in the Na­tional Party. Says they are friends.”

“Did you find any porn?” I ask.

‘What do you f**king think, Max?” Gordon says. “Of course we did.”

“Jef­freys Bay and Wi­tels­bos are not far from each other. If this min­is­ter and the [res­i­dent] are friends, as she claims, then he must own or rent prop­erty in the vicin­ity. And in the vicin­ity is Wi­tels­bos, where Wil­liam says he was mo­lested,” says Gordon.

●●●

My lead to the mys­te­ri­ous boy in the trauma ward is go­ing to be through the el­derly ma­tron. But she has some­how dis­ap­peared.

A few phone calls later and I have her new ad­dress as well as her tele­phone num­bers – home and work.

At 6pm, I dial the home num­ber. A woman with a raspy voice an­swers in Afrikaans. She con­firms her name and sur­name and then I iden­tify my­self.

I get straight to the point. I hear her breath­ing on the other end of the line. And then sud­denly she’s a bag of tears, beg­ging for the Lord’s for­give­ness.

“I haven’t spent one cent, not a penny, Sergeant Max. All of the money is still here. I al­ways knew it was trou­ble. It’s dirty money. And now God has seen fit to pun­ish me for my sins.”

I pre­tend to have known about the money.

“Yes, and ex­actly how much money was it again?” “R10 000, Sergeant. I’ve still got it all.”

By the time our con­ver­sa­tion reaches the 45-minute mark, she’s given me ex­actly what I need: the name of the sur­geon who treated the young­ster. She hon­estly doesn’t know the par­tic­u­lars or cur­rent where­abouts of the kid.

●●●

The doc­tor re­fuses to talk about the case, opt­ing to play the pa­tient-doc­tor priv­i­lege card af­forded him. He re­veals noth­ing. The men in grey suits have done their job well. My clan­des­tine in­ves­ti­ga­tion has run up against a brick wall.

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