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Cape Town – A missing persons case has turned into a murder investigation after the remains found in a pipeline were confirmed to be those of a missing 8-year-old girl in the Eastern Cape.
In a statement released on Sunday, provincial police spokesperson Captain Lariane Jonker said DNA collected from the missing girl’s mother positively identified the remains found on July 12.
The remains were uncovered due to an unrelated matter.
The 8-year-old was reported missing on December 23, 2020, after she went to the local tuck shop to buy sweets and never returned.
According to Jonker, on April 7, 2021, police in Hofmeyr received information about a woman trapped in a non-operating water supply pipeline in the area.
Police acted on the information and the 23-year-old woman was rescued from the water supply pipeline and reported that she had been raped and thrown into the pipeline by someone known to her.
Jonker said a case of rape and attempted murder was opened and a 20-year-old man was subsequently arrested shortly afterwards.
During the court proceedings of the 23-year-old woman’s case, the public prosecutor requested a follow-up in the matter and wanted to determine the depth of the water supply pipeline.
Upon investigating the pipeline as requested by the State prosecutor, the remains of a child were discovered.
The remains were sent to forensic pathologists for testing.
Jonker said the forensic pathology report from Pretoria was received and DNA confirmed the remains to be those of the missing girl.
“The initial missing persons inquiry has been changed to murder and is being investigated by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit in Cradock,” she said.
Police are appealing to anyone with information that can lead to the successful apprehension and arrest of a suspect or suspects in this matter.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the investigating officer Detective Sergeant M Qhagana on 082 319 8362.
– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher