The last time Dorothy Arnoldes saw her 22-year-old son Fabian alive was when he was “arrested” on December 21, 2016, by what she believed were Delft police officers.

A month later, the 52-year-old mother found her son’s body at a mortuary.

He had been murdered and his decapitated body dumped in an open field in Mfuleni.

Arnoldes and Fabian were woken by a knock at around midnight on December 21.

Two people, one dressed in police uniform and the other in civilian clothes, demanded to see Fabian.

Fabian tried to escape through the window, but his mother told him not to run away.

“The African one was wearing police uniform and the coloured one was wearing plain clothes. I cannot remember their faces but the coloured one held him by his belt, saying he didn’t want Fabian to run away. They got in their unmarked car and left. That was the last time I saw my son alive and I thought he was safe,” Arnoldes told the Cape Times.

She said two residents standing outside told her the men had asked them for her son’s picture. After weeks of not hearing anything, Arnoldes went to the Delft police station, but there was no record of him there.

She searched for him at Goodwood Prison, where Fabian had been kept during his arrest earlier last year, but could not find him there nor at Pollsmoor Prison. She then started searching mortuaries.

“We began at Salt River mortuary, then went to Athlone. On January 31, we went to Tygerberg morgue. I saw the clothes he was wearing the night they took him away. From what I saw, you could tell he was tortured. He had burn marks on his arms. His body was starting to decompose when they found it.”

Police say the murder case is still under investigation and no one has been arrested.

Fabian’s family said his death did not come as a surprise as he had been sought by unknown people days before his abduction.

Delft community leader Vuyiswa Mzinyathi said: “We can’t say these people were real police. Our fear is that we do not even know who to trust and this might happen to any of our community members.”