Grandpa disappears mysteriously

2012-01-13 11:28
Police retrieve the body of Douglas Simpson from the Vaal River near Barkly West, after he apparently committed suicide following the disappearance of his father-in-law, Peet Theron in Witbank just before Christmas. (Leon Rossouw, Volksblad)

Police retrieve the body of Douglas Simpson from the Vaal River near Barkly West, after he apparently committed suicide following the disappearance of his father-in-law, Peet Theron in Witbank just before Christmas. (Leon Rossouw, Volksblad)

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Bloemfontein - The mystery surrounding the disappearance of an elderly man from Witbank has deepened dramatically after his son-in-law’s body was found in the Vaal River in Barkly West.

Everything points to Douglas Simpson, 47 - whose body was retrieved from the river on Thursday - being behind the disappearance of his father-in-law, Peet Theron, 72.

Theron was last seen shortly before Christmas.

His son-in-law apparently stole a safe containing 9mm pistol and other items from Theron’s house.

Simpson went missing on his daughter Denitte's 14th birthday, shortly after Theron's disappearance.

Suicide


But earlier this week he contacted his wife Debbie Simpson, and daughter, to say he was going to commit suicide.

“The worst part is that I still have no idea where my father is,” said Debbie.

She said her husband was a coward. “He knew the police would lock him up if they found him.”

A private investigator, Leon Rossouw, was hired to find Theron and first searched for his son-in-law.

Rossouw found Simpson’s car in a deserted caravan park in Barkly West on Wednesday.

The car had counterfeit number plates and the keys were still inside. Boots, tools and a 9mm cartridge were found in the car. The safe and gun are still missing.

Rossouw and members of the police's dog unit in Kimberley worked through the night and found Simpson’s body near a bridge in the river on Thursday afternoon.

“It was about 400m from the car.”

He appeared to have no external injuries.

Simpson’s wife said she and her husband were getting divorced. She and her daughter had moved out of their home in Witbank on December 15 as she could no longer live with her husband due to his drug and alcohol problems.

On December 21, Simpson called his father-in-law at the Edenpark retirement home and asked him to meet him at the Wimpy in Witbank.

CCTV footage


According to security camera footage, Theron walked into the restaurant, looked around and walked out again. He was not seen again.

When Simpson’s wife confronted him about her father’s disappearance on her daughter's birthday on December 23, he also disappeared.

Simpson called his wife on Monday night. He said goodbye and said he was going to commit suicide.

"He admitted stealing the firearm but said he had nothing to do with my father’s disappearance.”

The next morning he sent a cellphone message to his daughter saying he was sorry but he couldn’t live without her mother.

Rossouw said the investigation into Theron’s disappearance was continuing. Anyone with information could call 083 4100900.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  bloemfontein

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