Cops probe occult-linked killings

Johannesburg - Police investigations were underway following a series of occult-related killings associated with a religious teaching ministry, the Saturday Star newspaper said on Saturday.

According to the paper, three people linked to the Overcomers Through Christ (OTC) teaching ministry were found murdered in the last three months.

Michaela Valentine, 25, found stabbed to death in her home in the West Rand last Thursday.

In July, Natacha Burger, 31, was found dead in a Centurion complex townhouse complex with her throat slit.

Her body was discovered alongside that of her neighbour, Joyce Boonzaier, a 68-year-old with no links to the minister.

In August, Honeydew pastor Reg Bendixen was found dead in the garden of his home. His throat had been cut.

The founder of OTC, Ria Grunewald told the Saturday Star that she and other associates of the ministry were receiving death threats.

"I have received warning text messages that there will be more killings of people who attend my teachings," she was quoted saying.

She also claimed that at one of their meetings, they found home-made petrol bombs.

"The following week four bombs exploded under our parked vehicles during our meeting and four vehicles were damaged," Grunewald said.

She claimed that OTC was not a deliverance ministry but a personal teaching ministry that warned children against Satanism, drugs and sexual immorality.

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