A 24-year-old man is facing murder charges after he was arrested in connection with the disappearance of a 15-year-old girl. According to the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Mpumalanga, children from an initiation school found a human skull in the bushes at Nkanini Trust near Masoi outside White River on Sunday 14 August 2022.

“The police connected their dots and discovered that there is a little girl who went missing in December 2021 and was reported by her family in early January 2022. A preliminary investigation by a group of experts revealed that the skeleton could be that of a 15-year-old girl who disappeared without a trace. The family believes it’s her because they identified the dress they found at the scene.”

Brigadier General Selvi Mohlala, SAPS Spokesperson Mpumalanga

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According to SAPS Mpumalanga, the woman stormed the Masoi police station days after the remains were discovered, claiming that some members of the community accused her of protecting the suspect and wanted to attack her.

The police managed to intervene and calm the situation, asking members of the public to leave things in their hands. The team then received a vital piece of information for the investigation from a member of the Community Policing Forum (CPF) about the whereabouts of the suspect.

“Details were investigated culminating in his arrest in Malelane, of course with a lot of assistance from the police from Malelane SAPS. Additionally, it is believed that the suspect may have been trying to flee from authorities when he was cornered,” Mohlala added.

The suspect has since been charged with murder, as well as miscarriage of justice. He is due to appear in the Masoi Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, August 17, 2022. Police cannot rule out the possibility of the suspect being charged further as investigations progress.

SAPS Provincial Commissioner in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphne Manamela welcomed the breakthrough made by the police officers but also condemned the acts of violence against defenseless women.

“It is disgraceful that a similar incident of this nature took place in the same Masoyi police area where a little girl, Buntle Mashyane, was brutally murdered recently. We never expected that such an atrocity could be experienced by this community in such a short period of time. It is a moral issue and we call on religious organizations as well as traditional leaders to join us in fighting the scourge,” she said.

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