Mystery killing field in Durban

2014-03-31 00:00

DURBAN police and the Sydenham policing forum are awaiting postmortem results to identify the cause of death of four people who were found in a bushy area in Locksley Drive.

In the interim, the police have opened an inquest docket for the deaths.

On Tuesday, a passer-by discovered human remains in the bushes while he was searching for scrap metal. Provincial police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said the man reported the gruesome discovery to the police.

On investigating the scene, two more bodies were found in the same area. Zwane said a fourth body was found by the Durban K9 unit in the same area on Friday.

“Postmortems will be conducted to determine the cause of death, the possible dates of the deaths as well as the identities. The motive and the circumstances surrounding their deaths are unknown at this stage. We appeal to any community members whose loved ones are missing or anyone who may have information surrounding these deaths to contact the local police station or detective branch commander Colonel Ndlovu on 082 414 9260 or 031 203 2700,” Zwane said in a statement.

A police source said between 12 and 15 bodies have been discovered in the area over the past few years. He was wary of describing it as the work of a serial killer, saying there was no established pattern. The bodies were of African men and women and all but one had been unidentified. “A policeman based in Port Shepstone had allegedly committed suicide in the area,” said the source.

The body of a woman discovered on Tuesday was naked from the waist down. The source said the community living near the area were caught in a catch-22 situation. On the one hand, they want the bush to be cleared but they realise that this could result in an informal settlement springing up in the area.

Resident Michael Kyd said the discoveries were a cause for concern. “There are nearby informal settlements and people use this area as a short-cut,” he said.

Satish Dhupelia, chairperson of the local community policing forum, said residents believe that this could be the work of either a serial killer, or the victims had stepped on one of the many illegal electricity connections and had been electrocuted.

“About four years ago, a man was found dead in the same area. It was later discovered that he was electrocuted by illegal electricity connections from the informal settlements. Residents are concerned that if it is not electrocution, these people could have been killed somewhere else and dumped in the area,” said Dhupelia.

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