Reiger Park toddler's burnt body not the first

2015-05-14 13:30

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Johannesburg - Toddler Cuburne van Wyk was not the first child who disappeared from Reiger Park whose body was found burnt, a Johannesburg court heard on Thursday.

Nathaniel Mpoku, also known as "Chicken", is accused of kidnapping and killing 3-year-old Van Wyk. He allegedly killed Van Wyk in an informal settlement in Reiger Park, Ekurhuleni, in August last year.

Van Wyk disappeared on August 6 while playing outside with his siblings.

Van Wyk's body was discovered by a passer-by at a mine dump in Reiger Park three days later.

The case was being heard at the Johannesburg High Court - sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court - by Judge George Maluleke.

Captain Phillip Radebe, who took over the investigation on August 11, was recalled to the stand by Mpoku's lawyer Lumka Qoqo, from Legal Aid.

Murders of religion, witchcraft

Lumka asked Radebe about a case at the Reiger Park police station similar to that of Van Wyk's.

"My lord, in November 2013, I'm not sure about the exact date, a boy aged 10-years-old, his body was found lying in the field not far from where the deceased [Van Wyk] in this matter went missing," Radebe said.

"The body was burnt almost in a similar way that the deceased [Van Wyk] in this matter was burnt. The case was investigated by our department of occult. They investigate murders of religion, witchcraft, etc."

Qoqo said: "Would I be correct to say that this body of the child came from the same squatter camp?"

Radebe replied: "It's the same informal settlement."

The court heard that investigations had not led to the arrest of a perpetrator in the November 2013 case, with semen found on the 10-year-old's body.

Radebe said blood was taken from Mpoku to see if he was linked to the death of the 10-year-old.

Burnt alive

"My lord in the current case [Van Wyk's] we did request or instructed the pathologist to check for any substance that could also assist us with DNA, whether they found semen or blood or anything," he said.

"As the pathologist testified, there was nothing found on the body of the deceased."

He said given the modus operandi of the 2013 incident, part of their investigation was to check whether Mpoku was linked to the death of the 10-year-old, beyond that of Van Wyk's.

Earlier, Constable Samuel Nguni was quizzed by the prosecutor on why he left certain exhibits at the scene, to which he replied that the investigating officer did not instruct him to remove them.

The court heard on Tuesday from forensic pathologist Dr Akmal Khan a jersey found with Van Wyk's body had been used to strangle him. The child was burnt alive either at the same time or just after he was strangled.

The State closed its case early on Thursday afternoon.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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