This is not going to restore your faith in the fumbling SAPS, a body that is supposed to serve and protect.
It all started in September 1996, when Alec Steenkamp disappeared after collecting money from one Kenneth Downey in Johannesburg. When he hadn’t returned home by the next day, his wife filed a missing persons report.
After much bungling by the SAPS and a quick interview with Downey, the SAPS lost the docket and moved on to their next case.
They [SAPS] even told [the daughter] that her dad had most probably taken the money and run away with another woman.
Luckily for Steenkamp his daughter, Andrea, “refused to accept that her father could not be traced”. In 2004 she hired private investigator Christian Botha to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance.
All it took was 48 hours.
Botha spoke to police and got all the information they had. He discovered that Downey had lived in a house in Brixton and so the sleuth went there. On speaking to neighbours, he found that the deceased previous owner had had a son, Downey.
With basic detective work around the house, Botha noticed a piece of the carpet in the lounge had been cut and removed. This raised his suspicions.
Botha then looked in the garden, where he saw that “cement blocks had sunk in some spots”, indicating that the ground beneath had not been given time to settle before being paved. He then spoke to the neighbour again who finally admitted to seeing Downey digging a hole in the garden, and that the domestic worker had “confided” in her that she had had to “dispose of the bloodied clothing”.
The SAPS quickly got their backsides into gear and issued a search warrant on Botha’s request, rocking up the next morning with dogs and a forensic team.
After a quick bout of digging, the body of Steenkamp and the murder weapon (a hammer) were found. All Botha had to do was talk to a neighbour, which the cops had failed to do.
(I would love to know the secrets my neighbours are keeping…)
The good news is that even after almost a decade, Downey was found in Maputo and is now serving a life sentence.
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