Mystery skeleton find

2011-04-29 00:00

MYSTERY surrounds the discovery of human skeletal remains at the foot of a cliff in the Madakana Ward in the Murchison area yesterday morning.

Members of the Port Shepstone police search-and-rescue unit and Med-Vac abseiled down a steep incline to retrieve the bones after a group of children reported the grisly find.

Port Shepstone police spokesperson Captain Vincent Pandaram said the children were exploring in the bushes when one spotted a belt.

“When the youngsters investigated further, they found a human skull and other remains, and reported it to adults who in turn contacted the authorities.”

Earlier speculation that the body could have been that of a man who was reported missing in the area in December last year was deemed unlikely because of the “dryness of the bones”.

“The bones appear old, so it’s unlikely that it is the same person. However, we are sending them to the Port Shepstone State Mortuary where forensics will confirm the age of the person and possibly even the cause of death,” Pandaram said.

The search-and-rescue teams were on the scene shortly after the report, equipped with ropes and climbing gear to enable the officers to edge the short distance down the incline to retrieve the skeletal remains, instead of hiking the long route the children followed.

Francios Pretorius of Med-Vac said it was an intensive operation and safety was a concern for all members.

“It was a difficult operation that required several units to work together,” he said.

Anyone with information that could bring closure to the case is asked to call Port Shepstone police at 039 978 9944.

This remains are not the first recovered a long time after death on the South Coast.

The body of 27-year-old Veronica Khubeka, who drowned in the Uvongo lagoon on January 6, was retrieved only months later. Her distraught family had to wait for two-and-a-half months before her body floated to the surface. Members of the police search-and-rescue unit were called after lifeguards at Uvongo beach reported that a beachgoer had spotted a body floating on the lagoon’s surface.

“In cases of unidentified bodies, police rely largely on forensics,” said Pandaram.

“Closure for families in such instances is of the utmost importance and a priority for the police. We often revisit old cases to bring closure as soon as possible so that people can grieve peacefully.”


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