The unidentified body, whose gender could not be confirmed by the police, was found lying in thick reeds in the murky waters of the notorious Rietspruit River that flows through Kathorus, reports Kathorus Mail.
According to Captain Mega Ndobe, the media liaison officer for the Katlehong SAPS, the discovery of the dead body has sent shockwaves through the neighbouring communities, who now fear for their own lives.
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Describing how the dead body was found, Ndobe told Kathorus Mail that members of the local community alerted police to the body in the river.
Ndobe explained that soon after the discovery was made public on the radio, a Soweto family visited the Katlehong SAPS in a bid to identify the body. They believed it was their missing relative who was kidnapped in the Jeppe area, in Johannesburg, on April 27.
Ndobe said, however, that when the family accompanied detectives to the government mortuary in Germiston, they found that it was not their kidnapped relative.
Ndobe added: “This left detectives puzzled about the identity of the drowned body found in the river.”
Ndobe said police officers had to wear water boots to reach the part of the river where the body was lying among thick reeds. The head had separated from the body, and was found lying a few metres further down the river.
Ndobe said: “We strongly believe that the dead body might have been lying in the river for some time before it was found. And due to the advanced stage of decomposition, the police were unable to immediately determine the gender of the dead person.”
Ndobe added that the only identifiable object linked to the body was a blue T-shirt the deceased was wearing. The T-shirt had the words, “City of Ekurhuleni”, written on it.
Ndobe said that the detectives investigating the case were now appealing to members of the public to help them find a family who might be missing a relative to come forward.
“Until a complete postmortem and DNA tests are conducted, the police will have to rely on information supplied to them by the public about the identity of their missing family member,” explained Ndobe.
Anyone who is missing a family member is asked to contact the Katlehong SAPS or the Detectives Offices on 011-617-3686.