Bizarre suicide twist

2010-11-05 00:00

AN Estcourt teacher who was initially thought to have been murdered might have committed suicide.

Police yesterday confirmed that charges against three suspects who were arrested following the discovery of ­Anna-Marie Röhrs’s body have been dropped.

Police spokesperson Captain Charmaine Struwig said in a statement that charges against the men for the murder and robbery of 55-year-old Röhrs were withdrawn after they appeared in the Estcourt Magistrate’s Court on Friday last week.

“There was no prima facie evidence against the three suspects and instead the investigation into her death has led police in the direction of a possible suicide.”

An inquest is being conducted “and an unknown substance which was discovered in her stomach will be sent for toxicological testing”, said Struwig.

She said one of the suspects will still have to face a charge of possession of an unlicensed firearm.

Police confirmed that the firearm belonged to Röhrs, and said it was found on one of the suspects when they were arrested.

It is not clear how the man got hold of the firearm.

The Witness has learnt that Röhrs allegedly asked the men to bring her rat poison and she drank it.

When it failed to work, she allegedly asked them to shoot her.

The men were reluctant, so she shot herself, it is said.

“All we have now is an allegation that she ended up shooting herself and, as I have said, the matter is under investigation,” said Struwig.

When contacted by The Witness, one of the suspects, Luyanda Mnguni, said he is emotionally disturbed by the incident and he declined to comment.

“This is one chapter of my life I don’t want to talk about. It is closed,” said Mnguni.

SA Community Action Network, a Durban-based NGO, was also involved in the search for Röhrs.

It recently opened a branch in Ladysmith.

The organisation’s head, Brian Jones, said in a statement: “The motive for the killing was not carjacking as ­Anna-Marie seems to have willingly gone with suspects.

“At this stage we will support the family where we can. All the involved stakeholders played a role in the speedy results.”

Röhrs’s body was found near Cornfields between Estcourt and Colenso on the morning of October 26.

She had gone missing the day before.

Egon Fortmann, a close family friend, told The Witness at the time that Röhrs, a teacher at St Gregory’s Primary School, had left school early to visit a doctor as she was not feeling well.

She did not arrive for her appointment.

Her husband, Alec, became concerned when she did not return home and contacted the police.

It was reported that the vehicle Röhrs had been driving was recovered in Ladysmith after police stopped a car which was racing up and down the streets.

Röhrs’s funeral took place in Estcourt on Wednesday.


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