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Posted: Apr 10 2007, 02:27 PM
Member No.: 2
Joined: 22-July 06
Bones on the beach attract hordes of visitors
April 10 2007 at 12:21PM
The discovery of two skeletal remains - two weeks ago - and a third complete skeleton nine months ago which could possibly unravel a 19-year-old murder mystery, have attracted hordes of curious visitors to Umdloti Beach, north of Durban.
The remains of a woman and a child found by passersby at the beach have turned the resort town into an overnight attraction, with families from around Durban and beyond coming to see for themselves.
The rough seas and storms which battered Durban and the coastline recently, destroyed not only homes and roads, but also uncovered the skeletons, which are believed to have been buried there for more than ten years.
The discoveries have received national media attention amid speculation over possible links that have been made between the bones and the case of notorious 1980's paedophile Gert van Rooyen.
'It's history, there's nothing you can do about it'
Van Rooyen and his girlfriend, Joey Haarhof, are believed to have kidnapped and killed six young girls.
Pierre Canot and his family, who drove from Durban to see the site, were critical of the police for not cordoning off the site where the discovery was made.
"It's stupid that the police used a grader here; what if they crushed crucial evidence? It doesn't matter whose bones they are, but they have to cordon off the area," he said.
He recalled the time when the girls went missing, and their faces were splashed all over the media and even on milk cartons.
For Clinton Rae - who was sunbathing a few metres from the site - the discovery of the bones made little difference to his life.
Rae, who has been living in London since he left South Africa in 1994, said even if the bones were found to have been those of the missing girls, he still regarded Umdloti as his favourite holiday site.
"It's history, there's nothing you can do about it. But for the families it will bring some closure because they will have graves to visit instead of not knowing what happened to their children," he said.
Property investor Johnny de Jager said that his Pretoria home was not far from Van Rooyen's house in Capital Park, from where a 16 year-old girl escaped and blew the whistle on the paedophile.
He said Van Rooyen had stayed at the Umdloti Holiday Resort, which was then owned by the army - De Jager has since bought some flats in the building where Van Rooyen had lived.
For the Ramsoud family of Newlands West the mystery of the missing girls reminded them of their favourite television show, CSI.
Dir Johan Booysen, head of the provincial Organised Crime Unit, urged the media not to sensationalise the case. He said as yet there was no link between the skeletal remains and Van Rooyen, but police were investigating all possible angles.
He said forensics tests were being carried out to establish the identity of the remains.