Breakthrough in Van Rooyen mystery?
A mission to bring closure to paedophile couple’s victims’ families
A PSYCHIC profiler, archaeologists and forensic investigators descended on Blythedale Beach in KwaZulu-Natal this week, in a new attempt to solve one of South Africa’s biggest criminal mysteries.
For 30 years, the remains of six young girls believed to have been killed by serial murderer and kidnapping duo, Gert van Rooyen and his lover, Joey Haarhoff, have not been found.
But this week, a new investigation may have uncovered the notorious couple’s “nest” of paedophilia.
KZN South Coast psychic, Pam Adams, who was closely involved with the investigation of the girls’ disappearances nearly 30 years ago, said yesterday: “We visited that cottage at Blythedale Beach three times and I do believe that is where it all happened. I do believe they were all taken there. That is the nest.”
The six girls were TraceyLee Scott- Crossley, 14, from Randburg who went missing on August 1, 1988; Fiona Harvey, 12, of Pietermaritzburg who disappeared on December 22, 1988; Joan Horn, 12, of Pretoria went missing on June 7, 1989; and on September 22, 1989, Odette Boucher, 11, and Anne-Marie Wapenaar, 12, both from Kempton Park, disappeared. On November 3, 1989, Yolanda Wessels, 13, went missing. Wessels was Haarhoff ’s niece.
On Wednesday, a police forensics team from Pretoria swooped on the beach.
They were closely followed by heavy machinery which started excavating around a stormwater drain on the main Blythedale Beach.
Natasha Boucher, sister of Odette Boucher, was spotted on the beach on Wednesday. Alet Wright, executive producer for SABC2 television programme Fokus, was involved in a 15-month investigation after receiving new information on the case. Her documentary will be screened tomorrow at 6pm.
“We have to try, even if we don’t find anything,” Wright said on the beach. “There are indications we could be on the right track.”
She remained tight-lipped on new evidence relating to the case, but said the excavation was only for two days and she returned to Johannesburg yesterday. She did reveal that they were specifically investigating the disappearance of Boucher, Wapenaar and Horn.
The K9 Dog Unit arrived at the dig site later on Thursday, but did not turn up anything. Bones were unearthed but were believed to belong to animals.
Yesterday, the excavation site was covered over.
A massive police manhunt took place after the disappearance of the girls, and rumours and speculation swirled, offering “clues” involving “satanic cults, a highly sophisticated paedophile ring and a woman wearing a blonde wig”.
Yesterday, recalling the inside of the cottage on Blythedale Beach, psychic Adams said: “I picked up vibrations which led me there in the first place.
“I believe all the girls were locked up there. We found possible evidence, from a pair of shorts belonging to a young girl which had been stuffed into a paint tin, to an ‘A’ written on the wall and one wall had been blocked up.
“I also took a photo of a friend on the beach in front of the cottage and when it was developed, there was an image of Odette’s face in the photograph.
“I also received communication from ‘ Landie’ which turned out to be Yolanda Wessels.
“It’s a very sad story, those poor little girls. Information that comes through can include names, places and scenes being given to you, I know I can either act on it or not. I have never stopped thinking about the case and it would be wonderful for the families to find closure,” said Adams. She handed over all her findings to SAPS Occult Unit at the time of the investigation.
Van Rooyen and Haarhoff spent time in the North Coast holiday spot in the late 1980s.
The couple came under the police spotlight in 1990 when 16- year- old Jan Booysen of Pretoria was abducted and taken to Van Rooyen’s home on January 11, 1990, from where she managed to escape. As police closed in, Van Rooyen shot Haarhoff before killing himself. The couple were never convicted in connection with the girls’ disappearances.
Gert van Rooyen