News24

Murder accused 'loved Dexter'

2011-04-10 13:02

Welkom – The engaged couple who have been arrested for the "satanic" murder in the Welkom cemetery, apparently regularly attended Bible studies and were crazy about the murderous TV drama, Dexter.

As a matter of fact, Chané van Heerden's mother said her daughter had asked for an extra Bible a few weeks ago. Her parents said she had always been a Christian.

But Van Heerden, who is also accused of murdering Michael van Eck, 24, apparently also practiced white magic related to the Wicca religion. She apparently told friends she didn't believe in God or Satan and was against Satanism.

People close to the couple denied links to Satanism and said both had a history of psychological problems and lived in a fantasy world.

The couple were crazy about the violent TV series Dexter and apparently even called each other "Dexter" and "Lumen" based on the violent characters in the programme. In the fifth series, the characters murder people together.

Maartens van der Merwe (Van Heerden's fiancé) had apparently spent time at a psychiatric hospital and had been known to hallucinate.

He apparently told a friend they cut each other.

Police were investigating a satanic link to the murder because of the way in which Van Eck's body had been dismembered as well as other items found in the house and on the property.

Neither Van Heerder nor Van der Merwe were apparently upset when they were arrested. It was believed that the murder had been recorded on a cellphone video.

The couple indicated in court on Thursday that they would not apply for bail.

Comments
  • coolwaynie - 2011-04-10 13:06

    Reminds me of the two crazies that raped and slashed that young girl a decade or so ago. She survived luckily.

      motsokwane - 2011-04-10 19:22

      WOW! DO YOU REALLY KNOW PAT EIDOLON? YOU ARE A SERIOUS ALLEGATOR.

      Maryna123 - 2011-04-11 09:51

      Mishka - It's a young man who was killed, not a young lady... but further I do agree with you.

  • Luke Slade - 2011-04-10 13:13

    Yet another case of the mentally ill slipping through the cracks in the system which inevitably leads to tragedy...Dexter season 5 isn't even that good...

      Duane277 - 2011-04-11 12:46

      I love how whenever something like this happens the media blames it on tv shows, movies, bands etc. A couple school kids in America shoot a bunch of their teachers and classmates and its Marilyn Manson's fault cause they owned a few of his cd's; this couple hacks someone to pieces and it's Dexter's fault. Whatever happened to plain old crazy??? By the way, Dexter is probably the best show on tv. What's better than a serial killer realising what he is, but instead of killing random people, he kills bad guys and ends up making the world a better place. We could do with a few real-life "Dexters" in South Africa

  • Vaal Donkie - 2011-04-10 13:16

    Nou ja toe.

  • Jason - 2011-04-10 13:26

    Okay why does Satanism always have to get the blame? Screw that, how about just plain mentally unstable.

      skulldude70 - 2011-04-10 13:35

      Agreed. As the report clearly states: "But Van Heerden, who is also accused of murdering Michael van Eck, 24, apparently also practiced white magic related to the Wicca religion. She apparently told friends she didn't believe in God or Satan and was against Satanism." And also: "People close to the couple denied links to Satanism and said both had a history of psychological problems and lived in a fantasy world." And: "Maartens van der Merwe (Van Heerden's fiancé) had apparently spent time at a psychiatric hospital and had been known to hallucinate." White magic (Wicca) is nowhere near Black magic (Satanism). I honestly wish that 99% of reporters who write such articles would get their heads out of their backsides and research stuff first before writing rubbish articles based on nothing but thumbsuck theories.

      10111 - 2011-04-10 13:35

      or Dexter?

      ?? - 2011-04-10 13:45

      @Jason, Agreed.These people are obviously mentally challenged.I remember a while back when the heavymetal band KISS was also blamed by two afrikaner men who were satanists,of influencing them,ALSO from Welkom.In this case,KISS "influenced" them to cut their arms with razor blades and to lick their own blood.

      Sir Eidolon - 2011-04-10 16:04

      @skulldude70 - dude, Black magic isn't Satanism. Satanism isn't evil or 'black', unless you refer to the boogieman Christians invented. Thelema, or the teaching of Crowley, is about the power within us, rather than faeries similar to goD and jesuS.

      Sir Eidolon - 2011-04-10 18:07

      From the many thumbs down to my enlightened comments, it is obvious that there is a LOT of ignorance regarding satanism. 93 93/93.

      daaivark - 2011-04-11 07:53

      @ skulldude: And because it is reported it has got to be true, right?

  • ?? - 2011-04-10 13:37

    Only in Welkom

      CorneN - 2011-04-10 13:54

      ROFL, starting to wonder about the gene pool there as well.

      ?? - 2011-04-10 15:25

      Your cousin is also your father,u mean to say? LOL

  • Centronix - 2011-04-10 13:44

    Can't wait for Season 6.

  • John Smith - 2011-04-10 14:29

    yeah really Dexter made me do it... ffs grow up.

  • CapeTownJunk - 2011-04-10 14:36

    So one of the accused is apparantly a Christian, apparently also a Wiccan, and apparently doesn't believe in Satan. Three reasons why the label "satanic" is inappropriate here. So why use it, unless you're indulging in lazy shock tactics, in order to appeal to credulous dimwits who like to blame Satan for all human weaknesses?

      Vaal Donkie - 2011-04-10 16:18

      So, you're saying thay are blaming the same satan they don't believe in?

      Sir Eidolon - 2011-04-10 16:19

      Yeah. 'Satan' is another figment of the Abrahamic religions, next to their faeries goD, Jesus, Mary and the wooly goat. Satan is an attempt to explain why bad things happen to people who believe in an all-loving god.

      nvilliers - 2011-04-11 09:44

      why would you believe someone who has just murdered. i mean the possibilities are huge that these people are satanic. not like they have a policy to tell the truth.... there are dead cats in their back yard, they murdered a person for a ritual purpose. I mean if thats got nothing to do with satan i don't know what does.

      system.reset1 - 2011-04-11 10:34

      @Sir Eidolon how old are you?

  • CapeTownJunk - 2011-04-10 14:39

    So one of the accused is apparantly a Christian, apparently also a Wiccan, and apparently doesn't believe in Satan. Three reasons why the label "satanic" is inappropriate here. So why use it, unless you're indulging in lazy shock tactics, in order to appeal to credulous dimwits who like to blame Satan for all human weaknesses?

  • pediman - 2011-04-10 14:54

    jesus pls come back

      CorneN - 2011-04-10 15:22

      *holds breath*

      Sir Eidolon - 2011-04-10 16:00

      I am here.

      Educated - 2011-04-11 08:38

      motsokwane, that bloody western keyboard of yours keeps messing your sentences up and nobody can understand you. Well it's either that or you're not very bright. Is there a word for 'literate' in pedi?

      nvilliers - 2011-04-11 09:47

      @motsokwane, dude calm down to a panic please. everything you say has got to do with politic! go comment on a political thread douch bag... if you so desperate to raise your racial views. your TYPE are the reason things can't get fixed in this country. go get a life

  • draadsitter - 2011-04-10 15:45

    Maybe he liked tomato flavoured Fritos too. If so, are we going to ban them?

  • ria.faure - 2011-04-10 16:07

    I suppose the saying "dont judge a book by its cover" work both ways hey?

  • SqueekyT - 2011-04-10 16:29

    I love Dexter too...Oh no, I guess its just a matter of time now. :| Seriously, I am shocked at the level of 'reporting' on this website. First you report their Facebook profiles back to us (if I wanted to know, I'd look at the profiles myself...which I did...before you) and now you make some sweeping connection between TV programmes and these murders!?

  • darkwing - 2011-04-10 17:52

    These two are psychopaths, clear and simple. It's not the devil, it's not Dexter, it's not Motsokwane, it's their own sick fantasies that made them do this.

  • Christopher.Blackwell1945 - 2011-04-10 18:21

    Why do police and media get diverted from the crime to go explore other things? Now as to the media it is to increase interest in the story to improve sales of advertisements, But the fact is if I have a screw loose and kill you that is still murder. If I kill you while doing a ceremony, it is still murder. It has not become an occult crime, or a Satanic murder, it is simply murder. You are dead, that is all that is important, and that I am the one that killed you. All this other drivel is of no importance what so ever.

      pawsaw - 2011-04-11 10:49

      Actually it goes towards establishing motive or gain for the perpetrators. In a stranger murder (if this is one) they need to establish why these two people killed the victim. In this instance it would seem that both of them are going to plead insanity and will have to be sent for psychiatric assessment to establish whether they were aware that what they were doing was wrong. There are people who are crazy enough to confess to crimes they didn't commit, believe it or not. What kind of parent allows their daughter to hang out with someone known to hallucinate ffs.? He may have decided to kill her or even her parents and she loves him and is being manipulated because of fear.

  • Wayne.D.Baxter - 2011-04-10 20:47

    Oh crap, now we have to watch what we look and listen to... Imagine all the vegetables that will be destroyed because someone listened to Steve Hofmeyer's pampoen... All our kids will be gay cause they watched Teletubbies... Half a population will fail woodwork cause they listened to Malema... (Er OK that is probably mostly true) Blame it on what you like, these two were psychopathic murderers, look at his facebook page, this was preplanned murder already sparked on van der Merwe's status on the 31st March.... it was just the trigger he needed... even a picture of the two is tagged with their names and the word murderers captioned into the picture. This already on the 11th February... It is not about Satanism or Dexter or Music, this is about a Psychologically imbalanced couple. Each feeding off the psychotic illusions of what they are... Millions of people watch Dexter, listen to "Satanic" music, do drugs, etc... but you don't see them running round killing people because of that.... From Wikipedia - Dr. Hannibal (Hannibal the Cannibal) Lecter, a serial killer incarcerated for his crimes. He is a sophisticated epicure and enjoys good food and wine and classical music. The piece that he is shown listening to in the film is Goldberg Variations written by Johann Sebastian Bach. - This film best shows that a completely "normal" type of person can just as well be a psychotic killer.... We find it all too easy to blame things for the behavior of people... when it is the person

      Wayne.D.Baxter - 2011-04-10 21:25

      Oh and he mentioned Google in his status... Oh no... lets blame Google now too... Hell they lable everything that seems bad now to murder... The fact of the matter is that this guy and his girl are suspects in the murder of a young man. Why they did it is not down to who they watch on TV, how they dress or what KFC they ordered that evening, it was outright murder, something wrong ticked in their heads.. and the day came that he just got up on the wrong side of his bed and the brain was not tuned in correctly... Unfortunately for the young victim, he met a fateful end... one that has shocked a nation... may he rest in peace... may the accused rot in hell....

  • Janine - 2011-04-10 22:16

    I love Dexter. However, watching it does not make me want to go out and slaughter people. These 2 have problems that go waaaaaay deeper than what they watch on TV.

  • J Ayl - 2011-04-10 22:30

    Who cares what they believed!! These scumbags must be tried, sentenced with the full extent of the law & put away for life - LWOP - no less.

  • Susannomore - 2011-04-11 06:51

    Her entire testimony is a contradiction to itself. Regularly went to church, but practiced Wicca? Hello - You cannot put the two together and practice both belief systems. White magic - Wicca. There is no way that Chané believed in this and yet murdered someone. The belief is that anything you do will come back to you threefold. This is why most white witches spend so much time doing good - to get good back. The only truth I can see in this story is that they were mentally disturbed. Can't sort out their God, from their Deity, from their Satan.

      RiRo - 2011-04-11 11:12

      Err, you have no idea how many wiccans attend christian churches... Not because they practice both religiouns - whether they can or not.

  • Bryn De Kocks - 2011-04-11 07:16

    People are so dumb it's actually sad. Oh my God! They liked a popular TV show that millions of others do! She practiced Wiccan stuff! How about the line of the psychiatric problems, that should be the focus, not grabbing at sensationalist straws. You're all rather ignorant about Satanism too - 99% of Satanism practiced is LeVay Satanism, which is strictly against murder outside of self defense. Most Satanist don't even believe in Satan as an entity and rather as a metaphor to convey the idea of personal freedom. The only 'Satanists' who actually promote violence are Theistic Satanists, which are so rare you may as well say they don't even exist. I think it's about time we progress passed the backwards thinking closed minded religious ideas. Look at the facts and not try to blame things that don't exist for bad behaviour. I swear this country is worse than the southern states of the US. Even they've stopped trying to pin every murder on Satanism. All those dumb enough to try blame this on religion, you're the reason why South Africa is stuck in the middle ages in some areas. The irony being that the most backwards and religious people in S.A often tend to be those of Dutch heritage - while the Netherlands has the lowest religious population in the worth. Also funny how these least relgious European countries have the lowest crime. If you're going to talk about something, make sure you actually have knowledge about it.

  • daaivark - 2011-04-11 07:46

    WHat is this obsession with Satanism? WHy is everything people can't explain with superficial examination simply dismissed as Satanism, and to what extent does whether these two killers were or weren't satanists affect the brutality of their actions? It is completely irrelevant and not worthy of comment.

  • daaivark - 2011-04-11 07:51

    And a field day for the cranks! Pat you certainly seem a little unwell, but a few of your commentators seem none to healthy either. Motosokwane, please tell us what an ALLEGATOR is supposed to be.

  • jaycee - 2011-04-11 08:06

    Because they liked DEXTER doesn't mean this TV series is the cause of their behaviour or that most people who like DEXTER are Satanists/psychopaths. Then one can (ridiculously) say that because these murderers like their steaks underdone, all people with this preference are criminals. (Just saying, because I really like DEXTER and my wife is going to read this page!)

  • PinkSparkle - 2011-04-11 08:12

    I love Grey's Anatomy but have never felt the urge to perform a surgical procedure when my husband complain of feeling ill. However he loves that Hilda character on 7de Traan, and he can't cook for @#$@! so maybe there is sopmething to it...

      system.reset1 - 2011-04-11 09:51

      lol you know, I love homer simpson, and sometimes I drink so much beer I can't get off the couch. must be a connection there. :P

  • Colin - 2011-04-11 08:38

    Hmm smacks of parents trying desperately to find something to blame for their kids being fruit loops.

  • Colin - 2011-04-11 08:38

    Hmm smacks of parents trying desperately to find something to blame for their kids being fruit loops.

  • Colin - 2011-04-11 08:39

    Hmm smacks of parents trying desperately to find something to blame for their kids being fruit loops.

  • Adam - 2011-04-11 09:13

    When I was young, I loved playing PAC MAN. My grandfather warned me that one day, that game would negatively affect me and my generation. Looking back now, he was correct. Most of my youth was spent hanging out in dark corridors wearing brightly coloured clothing, listening to computer generated music, tripping on white pills and thinking that ghosts were chasing me. DEXTER and LUMEN are like MICKEY and MALORY KNOX from NATURAL BORN KILLERS. Naturally it is going to affect people. CSI says we cant get away with it - DEXTER shows us how.

      Hannah - 2011-04-11 11:01

      Adam you need to seek help if you are affected by any of these movies and still from pac-man, if you find these or other entertainment tv aflicting you psychologically in a scary way then there is help out there for you to overcome some of the paranoia you are still affected with after your earlier experiences.

      Slayer - 2011-04-11 11:13

      @ Hannah... I think he was being sarcastic about the pacman part...

  • Juri - 2011-04-11 09:24

    I wonder how many other people I know who love Dexter. It's a popular series. Also know hundreds of people who read the Bible. Think Rapport's milking this one a bit.

  • 123online123 - 2011-04-11 09:32

    Absolute hogwash - this murder does not fit the modus-operandi portrayed in Dexter. They are trying to aportion blame for their actions to a TV Series. I've not missed an episode of Dexter since season 1 yet I have no impulse to want to go out and kill. These two are natural born killers.

      Viparo - 2011-04-11 10:39

      Yes and no. I agree with your statement as it applies to all us "normal" people. However, the flip side is this : When lexus shows an ad for their new car on TV, not everyone rushes out to buy one, but a few Do.

      123online123 - 2011-04-11 13:02

      Viparo, I understand your reasoning but lets compare apples with apples and not murder to buying a Toyota, although, in my books buying a Toyota can be a worse crime. ;-) If you've watched Dexter, none of his vigilante murders are ritualistic and he certainly does not have ears and body parts in his fridge, neither are cats or other animals harmed in the making of the series. So to now pin this on the TV series is a lame cop-out.

  • brianR - 2011-04-11 09:48

    Okay, so heavy metal music and watching Dexter doesnt necessarily lead to you murdering your neighbour.... Just like singing "Shoot the Boer" doesnt necessarily lead to Farm Murders... We're making progress...

  • smahlaba - 2011-04-11 10:29

    I Love Dexter too

  • Louis C - 2011-04-11 10:39

    This is a tragedy, and I'm very sorry that someone lost his life, regardless of what the circumstances were. But dragging a TV show in here… really? It reminds me of when I was a kid – we were branded as an evil generation because we played with Masters of the Universe toys, now look at us! And really – spoiler alert! I’m not AT season 5 yet..!

  • Susannomore - 2011-04-11 11:03

    I enjoy watching crime TV. Will the appropriate authorites please come and lock me up before I too turn into a serial killer, fraudster, prison escapee and kidnapper...

  • Joy - 2011-04-11 11:14

    wahahahaaahhaha - I also love DEXTER, but that does not mean that I will kill anybody !

  • RiRo - 2011-04-11 11:22

    I'm a HUGE fan of Dexter! I swear I'm even a bigger fan than these two are... I've watched all the series at least 5 times and I love the dark humor used in each episode. So does this make me a murderer? Because I've never even thought of doing stuff like this. And the reason for the dead cats might be a dedication to vampirism (Yes, there are people who drink blood, even if they are not dead and it doesn't make them satanists - thus also explaining the head in the fridge.) Or, maybe they don't like cats :-/ It's just obvious they are mentally unstable OR they are narscisists that wants national attention - killers usually are egoistic. I understand why they suspect satanism, but if you look at Maartens profile on fb, he certainly seems more fascinated with mythology and the egypt religions - which are far from that. And Chené like classical music... Maybe they're cannibals... who knows! LOL So yes, that's me leaving my comment.

  • CharlSkeptic - 2011-04-11 11:33

    Why does it always have to come down to this? Now we have to call Chuck Norris to come and sort out Dexter. CN FTW!

  • Gail - 2011-04-11 11:34

    @Eidolon - "Satanism isn't evil or 'black'" Satanism is the worship of satan, the ultimate in evil!! The complete opposite of good, where do you come with THAT theory??

  • LUFC - 2011-04-11 11:38

    The journalism is too average to get reader attention, so what they do is put something familiar in the headline to get you to read it... and as you can see 95% of the comments are regarding Dexter.

  • leeupan - 2011-04-11 11:41

    This couple is bad news, plain and simple....I do not see any mitigating circumstances here......they should be sent to jail for a long time for their pathetic deed, no matter what their religion are.

  • leeupan - 2011-04-11 11:42

    This couple is bad news, plain and simple....I do not see any mitigating circumstances here......they should be sent to jail for a long time for their pathetic deed, no matter what their religion are.

  • Susannomore - 2011-04-11 11:48

    Just putting this out there... they that it is believed that the murder was captured on video. Assuming this is from a reliable source, could they not confirm any suspected "satanic rutuals" from said video?

      Naraku - 2011-04-11 12:56

      Satanists don't believe in human or animal sacrifice. Satanic rituals mostly contain symbolism, and sometimes sex and drugs. The only people murdering people in the name of satanism, know nothing about satanism. They make assumptions based on the movies and propaganda. Do you think satanism would be a legal religion in any country if they endorsed human sacrifice?

  • DandyLion - 2011-04-11 12:34

    Psycho biatches!

  • Kez - 2011-04-11 12:51

    FOR SIR EIDOLON If you have read the bible you would know that if you are not for God you are for Satan. Dealing in any magic - black, white, good or evil is forbidden by God. I think you are the ignorant one here.

      chez - 2011-04-11 13:34

      not all people in the world believe in god you know. just because it is your religion does not mean it is the only possible one. its your god, you go to hell!

      RiRo - 2011-04-11 14:10

      @chez There can only be ONE truth. In the end everybody will know. The possibility that all the religions are true for each person and what he/she believes, is not possible. That would mean we are all in our own realities, and not part of one reality. If we were all in different realities, how is it possible that anybody knows each other, because we should each have our own world then. Get real, dude. And hell is a lie. It is cruel to say stuff like that. Isn't it suspicious that christians (or people like you) say they are pure and good, but they have no problem telling someone to burn in hell...??? You are evil, Bro. And so are the people that relish themselves in the idea of hell. Good day!

  • Mr Wendal - 2011-04-11 13:15

    Gert Van Rooyen listened to Bles Bridges.

  • Xinobia - 2011-04-11 13:42

    So did Dexter kill the victim? And the million dollar question would be.......... When did Dexter kill one of his victims in this manner?

  • Günther - 2011-04-11 13:43

    wow, y'all are stupid, The Satanic Bible defines a "satanist" as someone who has himself/herself as their god, they dont believe in a deity, less still the xtian baddie, they worship THEMSELF. the same thing that caused lucifers fall, eieliefde. hoogmoed. pride. and blood sacrifices are done for one purpose only, to get power. hippys and goths, two sides of the same pagan coin, one serving the "light" of lucifer, the other serving the "dark" of satana. sheesh,

      francis.potgieter - 2011-04-23 11:46

      Religious Holidays LaVey briefly outlines the few Satanic holidays. The most important holiday in Satanism is one's own birthday, as the birth date of one's own god. To a Satanist, you are the most important being in the universe, and celebrating your own birthday honors your own vital existence. LaVey recommends that a Satanist celebrate his own birthday in any way he sees fit. The Satanic celebration of the birthday can also be seen as a mockery of the holidays commemorating the birth of various gods or saints in other religions. After one's own birthday, LaVey names two other holidays of importance, Walpurgisnacht and Halloween.

      francis.potgieter - 2011-04-23 11:49

      http://blogmella.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/my-review-of-the-satanic-bible/

  • ridgeback60 - 2011-04-20 15:15

    Wicca, or White Witchcraft, is very benign. It was vilified by the Catholic church whose leaders wanted control over the influence that the healers had in their village areas. Their creed is "Do ye no harm, do as ye will" and they really live by that code. The murder of this unfortunate young guy has nothing to do with Wicca or the black-belief movements. Wicca believes in a main god-figure as well as a female goddess-figure, in equal proportions, and connect them to the seasons of planting and harvesting. The real Wiccans are the equivalent of the modern-day homeopaths, herbolgists and midwives. They also healed animals and were kind to them, thereby giving rise to even more rumours to their detriment, that they 'enchanted' animals. Yes, with kindness and food and water. Wicca is a multi-theistic religion, and is the fasted growing religion in the world. Churchill was a Druid, the male equivalent to a Wiccan practitioner.

  • francis.potgieter - 2011-04-23 11:42

    This essay is longer than the previous essays; following the first two that denounce traditional religion as hypocritical and self-hating, this one offers Satanism as an alternative and opposite, a religion suited to human needs. It begins by suggesting that the Seven Deadly Sins are in fact all instinctual to human nature and not sinful at all. It states that they are all unavoidable urges of mankind, carefully selected by Christianity to ensure that all men will inevitably sin, as no one can avoid engaging in these instinctive urges. LaVey submits that this is a device to guarantee that humans within the Christian religious framework will surely sin and have no choice but to beg God for forgiveness; therefore, dependence upon the Church is assured. Instead, LaVey states that as all of these so-called sins are natural to humans, they should be embraced and could even be considered virtuous. This excerpt, for example: Envy and greed are the motivating forces of ambition - and without ambition, very little of any importance would be accomplished.[3] He goes on to explain that in this modern age, religionists have had to constantly reinterpret their own texts in order to keep up with the demands of people that they be permitted to indulge their normal human desires. LaVey views this as both hypocritical and evidence that these religions are inherently obsolete and should be discarded entirely, to be replaced with a religion better suited to man's needs. Satanism, LaVey suggests, is that religion. LaVey then justifies Satanism as a religion by explaining that it is not merely a philosophy. He explains that one reason man has always had religion is because he has a need for dogma and ceremony; Satanism acknowledges this, and therefore supplies its adherents with dogma and ceremony in the form of magic and ritual. LaVey claims that it is precisely this trait that distinguishes Satanism from Humanism or other essentially atheistic philosophies, and makes it a true religion suited to man's carnal nature. LaVey concludes the essay by explaining that even other religions or new-age movements that claim to supply adherents with magic have failed in this by distinguishing "white magic" from "black magic;" LaVey claims that all magic is one and the same, as all of it is done for the glorification of the magic user and therefore (like all human actions) is essentially selfish. He suggests that a Satanist may choose to help those he cares for, including himself, or condemn those he hates, but in all cases what he does is at his own discretion .http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Satanic_Bible

      francis.potgieter - 2011-04-23 11:45

      It's just sick ....

  • Augusto - 2011-11-12 16:33

    Stop WASTING tax payers money and just give them the same fate they gave Michael.