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POLICE re looking for a fourth suspect in connection with the killing of Olwyn Cowley, who was murdered after going to meet apparent buyers of his BMW.
The 21-year-old, according to family, had advertised the sale of his car on the classifieds website Gumtree.
Cowley’s body, with two bullet wounds to the head, was found at Monwabisi Beach on Friday morning.
Police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said three men, aged 25, 29 and 30 years, were initially taken in for questioning and by yesterday had been formally arrested.
“We’re still looking for a fourth suspect,” he said.
Van Wyk said the trio in custody, who were expected to appear in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court today, faced charges of hijacking, kidnapping and murder.
He confirmed Cowley had been on his way to meet apparent buyers for his silver BMW 325 TI, which was later found in Mitchells Plain after its sale had been advertised on Gumtree.
The Cape Times contacted Gumtree via its website, and a response from Gumtree Community Support said: “We are prepared to assist the police in this matter should they request any information from us.”
Yesterday, Cowley’s aunt, Anita Hanekom, said Cowley had met one of those interested in buying the BMW last Tuesday.
“The guy said he didn’t have the money and arranged to meet him [Cowley] again when he did have the money,” she said.
Hanekom said Cowley had gone to meet the apparent buyers again on Thursday at 5.30pm at the Shell garage at Century City.
Soon afterwards, she said, Cowley’s mother, Surita Cowley, had repeatedly tried to call him on his cellphone, but her calls were rejected.
Hanekom said by 6am the next day they were told that Cowley had been murdered.
On Thursday evening, a flyer had been posted on the Facebook page “Traffic fines, cameras & updates in Western Cape” alerting users to the fact that he was missing.
As hours lapsed, messages posted on the page showed how news of what had happened to Cowley started spreading.
Based on the Facebook page, on Friday at:
l 2.26am an ambulance worker wrote: “Will keep him in my prayers and hope he gets found unharmed.”
l 4.46am a user offered this suggestion: “Contact all the surrounding police stations to check. I hope he is unharmed. It’s not the first time something like this happen” (sic)
l 5.37am the ambulance worker posted a message for the page’s administrator: “Mr.T I need you. Very urgently. Phone me please.”
l 6.19am a message is posted saying the ambulance worker had spoken to Cowley’s family.
l 7am a user said she heard Cowley had been kidnapped, shot and thrown out of his car.
l 7.03am another user responded: “So sad! May he rest in peace! Condolences to his family & friends.”
Yesterday, Hanekom said: “It’s so unreal.”
Hanekom said Cowley, who turned 21 three months ago and was an only child, had been saving money to study further.
“He liked to work with his hands, but was also into computers. He was thinking of going into engineering.”
Hanekom said her family would not be present at the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court today to see the three men who had been arrested in connection with her nephew’s murder.
“We’re just focusing on arranging his funeral now,” she said.
The funeral was expected to take place on Wednesday in Bellville.
Hanekom said that Cowley’s mother was yesterday not yet prepared to speak to the media.
On her Facebook wall, though, Surita Cowley wrote: “I don’t have words to describe what’s going on in my heart. Thank you EVERYONE for your nice words, caring and love that you had for him.”