Break­through in Van Rooyen mys­tery?

A mis­sion to bring clo­sure to pae­dophile cou­ple’s vic­tims’ fam­i­lies

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - TANYA WATERWORTH

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.

Odette Boucher

Joan Horn

Fiona Har­vey

Anne-Marie Wape­naar

Yolanda Wes­sels

Tracey-Lee Scott-Cross­ley

Gert van Rooyen

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