‘Horrific find may be our relatives’
FOUR Northcliff, Joburg, family members were nervous and highly agitated as they approached the scene where the distinct outline of three burnt bodies lay smouldering in the veld in Centurion yesterday.
They reluctantly walked to the patch of ground where the bodies had been found, circling the dark patch of bloodstained ashes and condoms.
They intently looked for clues and anything that could give them an idea of the identities of the deceased or anything that could point to them as the relatives who went missing on Sunday evening.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Kay Makhubele explained to them the only way to verify the identities and see if they were family members was through DNA tests.
“The bodies are burnt beyond recognition and there is nothing that police can work on except for DNA tests,” he said.
“We are waiting for forensics to identify the gender and the age of the deceased,” he added.
The family told the police that they feared the charred remains belonged to their loved ones.
The gruesome find of the three bound, gagged and burnt bodies was made by security personnel of a neighbouring housing estate.
The Copperleaf Golf Estate workers went into the veld to investigate a grass fire around 8am, and upon close inspection saw the bodies and called paramedics.
When the paramedics got there, they were able to see that the victims appeared to be two adults and a child.
“When we heard that the three bodies had been discovered in Centurion, we kind of already had an idea that something may have happened,” said Fuad Patel.
Patel said three family members, a 56 year-old man and two women, aged 54 and 22, were kidnapped from their home in Northcliff on Sunday evening. The kidnappers fled in the family’s Mercedes-Benz, he said.
“When I heard that three bodies were discovered in a field I nearly fainted,” he said.
“What keeps me hopeful is that my missing cousin’s cellphone is still on and ringing,” he added.
Police officers at the scene said they were treating the deaths as suspicious.
They urged anyone with information on the crimes or whereabouts of the suspects to come forward to assist the police in their investigations.
“At the moment, we don’t have any ideas…
“We don’t know who they are, but we are appealing to anyone who might have any information following the discovery of three bodies to contact the police immediately,” Makhubele said.
ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said they could see that the bodies had been bound, gagged and burnt.
But he added that the actual cause of death would be determined only by a postmortem and a law enforcement investigation.
The police and forensic personnel were at the scene soon after the bodies were found, cordoning off the area and combing the veld for clues.
“The bodies were burnt so badly, the only thing visible was one pair of legs,” Makhubele said.
Numerous packets of used condoms were also found at the scene.
Splatters of blood were visible, along with burnt tyres.
Patel said he would brace himself for anything today when he went to the mortuary to identify the bodies.
Some community members were reeling in shock at the news of the grisly find.
“Whoever was out there, whoever did this, you don’t want them back on the streets,” Michelle Naudé said.
“But nothing at this point is going to bring them back,” she added.
Helen Mazibuko said: “We are shocked, to say the least.
“We are saddened that such a heinous crime has been committed here.
“We are hoping the police will intensify their investigation.”
A shocked Renee Manning said: “What is happening in this country?”
My missing cousin’s cellphone is still ringing
CRIME SCENE: Bloodstains mark the scene where the charred remains of three people were found bound and gagged.
KIDNAPPED: Two of the Northcliff missing family members.