The burnt and severely decomposed bodies of five missing family members, including a one-month-old baby and a two-year-old toddler, have been found in a forest in South Africa.
The bodies were found on Monday after two men were taken in for questioning.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said on Saturday, December 11, 2021, two suspects aged 25 and 27 were caught at KwaZinqamu in Elandskop and taken in for questioning after five family members went missing.
Naicker said the men were questioned regarding the disappearance of Sizwe Mauris Ngcobo, 64, Thandazile Zondi, 41, Bonokwakhe Khuboni, 40, Sibongile Fanelesibonge, two, and one-month-old baby Libra Ngcobo.
He said the victims were kidnapped from their farm in Boston just outside Pietermaritzburg on 16 November 2021.
Their vehicle was also missing. A missing person docket was reported at Boston SAPS on November 19, 2021.
“A joint operation was conducted yesterday (Monday) which led the team to Byrne in Richmond where the victim’s vehicle was found burnt. Further investigation led police to a plantation in Richmond where the gruesome discovery was made. The five burnt and decomposed bodies of the missing victims were found,” Naicker said.
“More arrests are imminent as investigations progress. Charges of murder and kidnapping are being investigated by Richmond SAPS.”
Naicker said the two suspects had been formally charged for murder and kidnapping, and they are expected to make their first appearance in the Richmond Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday morning.
On Saturday, SABC News reported that the relatives of the victims were appealing for assistance after the victims were taken from the farm last month.
The relatives believed the kidnapping was related to a dispute over farm ownership. The only person left behind was a 90-year-old elderly woman.
Ngcobo’s older sister, Nobuhle Ngcobo, said her brother’s light motor vehicle was captured in CCTV camera footage on November 16 heading towards Bulwer, but it was unclear whether it had other occupants in it because it was fitted with curtains.
Ngcobo only wanted closure and justice. She also said they feared for their own lives.
“We are really worried because we are not safe. There are cars that just roam outside our house day and night. On Thursday, when the children were about to go and play soccer in Boston, they saw a car that stood a road above our house before circling down to the front and opened their windows looking at our house. We don’t know how safe we are if they can take the whole family of five in such a manner,” Ngcobo said.
Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi congratulated the team who made the breakthrough.
“Over the days after the family went missing, a team comprising of various role players from the SAPS and Magma Security joined the search for the missing victims. The team worked tirelessly after the matter was reported to ensure that the missing victims were found and that justice is served. At this stage, investigations indicate that their deaths may be linked to a family feud,” Mkhwanazi said.