Family shocked at prison death of Spanish dentist accused of killing his twin children

2019-01-14 20:55
Mario César Deus Yela in court. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

Mario César Deus Yela in court. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

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The lawyer who represented Spanish dentist Mario-César Deus Yela said he and his client's family was in "complete and utter shock" after the awaiting trial prisoner was found dead in his cell on Monday.

William Booth told News24 that Yela had spoken to his mother and brother over the weekend and nothing seemed amiss.

Yela, accused of murdering his twin children, was found dead during unlock on Monday morning, Correctional Services department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo confirmed to News24.

"Preliminary reports (although not conclusive), indicate that the deceased may have overdosed on medication," Nxumalo explained. An investigation is currently under way.

ALSO READ: Spanish dad accused of murdering twins in SA denied bail

The 49-year-old was due to appear on February 29 in the Western Cape High Court in connection with the murders.

Yela, of Barcelona in Spain, came to South Africa in 2017 to visit his children with his then ex-wife.

He was accused of killing his twins, Octavia and Maximo, at a Hout Bay holiday complex in April.

His ex-wife, Julia Engelhorn, found her three-year-old children's bodies in a bedroom after he invited her for lunch.

When she arrived, he allegedly told her he had killed the twins. A third child was at school at the time.

Yela was also accused of threatening to stab Engelhorn, who allegedly escaped and ran to a security guard for help.

He was further accused of the theft of her Toyota Prado.

Booth said the head of the prison's maximum security awaiting trial section contacted him on Monday morning and informed him of his client's death.

He appointed a psychologist and psychiatrist for Yela while he was behind bars and had been consulting with his client regularly.

Booth said he and his client's family would await the outcome of the autopsy to establish whether Yela had died of natural causes.

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