Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Wedding ring joins dots for police

Graeme Hosken

September 03 2008 at 07:00AM

A wedding ring stolen off the hand of a young Pretoria mother who was raped and murdered has led to the arrest of her suspected killer.

Police nabbed Elize Havenga's alleged killer during a raid on his shack in Mamelodi on Monday night.

Havenga's daughter, Arista, was nine-months-old when her mother's body was found dumped semi-naked in dense bushes less than a kilometre from their Rietfontein small holding, east of Pretoria, in February. The couple had been living there for a month.

A man was arrested a day after her murder, but released several months later when police were unable to link him to the crime.

Havenga is believed to have stormed out of her home leaving Arista on her own after a heated argument with her husband, Jan Adriaan, who had left moments earlier.

Havenga, who ran a job recruitment agency, was collected by her brother on a dirt road near the family's house, but was dropped off minutes later at the same spot after she told him she wanted to walk home.

Her husband, who drove past moments later, stopped and they apparently spoke before he continued home.

Havenga's body was found a day later. A strip of wire was wrapped tightly around her neck.

Police on Tuesday revealed how through a suspect arrested for being in possession of stolen property - including jewellery taken from Havenga - they were able to trace her suspected murderer.

Welbekend police station spokesperson, Sergeant Marinda Stoltz, said the man was arrested after a suspect, caught for being in possession of stolen property, told police the whereabouts of the man who allegedly sold him several items, including those suspected to have been stolen from Havenga.

While Stoltz refused to reveal what the items that allegedly linked the seller to Havenga's murder were, Havenga's husband, Jan Adriaan, said it was a wedding ring.

Havenga said his wife's wedding ring and his (Jan Adriaan's) great grandmother's wedding ring were stolen from her during the attack.

Stoltz said information indicated that the murder was unplanned and had happened on the spur of the moment. She said investigators were now trying to link the suspect to Havenga's murder through DNA.

Stoltz said the suspect would appear in Welbekend magistrate's court on Wednesday on charges of murder, rape and robbery.

Speaking from his home in George, where he now lives with his parents and daughter Arista, Havenga said they were glad that someone had been arrested.

"My only hope is that it is the right person," he said.

This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on September 03, 2008


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