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CCTV 'might not have picked up' Courtney being dumped

Crime & Courts

Cape Town - The Epping City Improvement District (ECID) says due to security guards monitoring footage of about 40 cameras, “it might have slipped or security might not have picked it up” when the body of three-year-old Courtney Pieters was dumped.

The shallow grave where the missing toddler was found on Saturday afternoon is situated close to one of the overhead CCTV cameras.

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Juanita Pieters, mother of Courtney, holds her son at the memorial service. She has since been hospitalised. Picture: Enrico Jacobs

ECID manager Lizette Johnstone says police have been in possession of the CCTV surveillance footage since Sunday morning.

Courtney went missing on May 4 after being left in the care of her six-year-old brother as their mother Juanita Pieters set off for work. 

When she returned from work, she heard her daughter had gone missing.

Johnstone says she cannot confirm when the body was dumped in the field. 

She said police would not confirm to the company if the suspect was identified in the footage shared by the ECID.

While visiting the site where the shallow grave was found, Cape Times reporters were prevented from accessing the crime scene by security officers. The scene had not been cordoned off and passers-by were allowed to use the area as a thoroughfare with no restrictions.

On Monday afternoon, mourners were still placing flowers and condolence notes at the scene.

Johnstone says the gated field where Courtney was found is left unlocked during the day. 

“The gate is opened at 5am and stays open until 9pm before being locked by security guards. Employees access their work through the thoroughfare instead of walking around the whole circle,” Johnstone says.

The Elsies River home of Pieters was visited again on Monday afternoon following the arrest of a 40-year-old suspect.

There was a sombre mood as flowers and notes of condolences kept flooding in to console the family.

The suspect is said to be a tenant who lived in the home for three years; upon entering the room of the suspect, a pronounced stench wafted from between a cupboard and couch in the tiny room he leased.

Residents in Pluto Road, from where Courtney went missing, confirmed the suspect is a father of a six-year-old girl.

The suspect’s room was cordoned off by police on Sunday afternoon and the house was declared a crime scene after the K9 Unit found evidence there at about 4pm.

Social media was also caught in a flurry on Monday afternoon when two Whatsapp voicenotes went viral divulging details of an apparent CCTV footage viewing by the family and police.

Warda Cay, a member of one of the many search teams which had fanned out hoping to find Courtney, expressed her anger on Monday saying they had told police of the lead but “nobody believed us".

“The suspect was taken in for questioning the day after Courtney went missing but he was released again. I questioned him one evening while visiting the home and his story just did not add up."

“We asked the police to come to the house and do a proper house search with the dog unit after the dirty field was cleaned on 7 May. We requested for the dog unit again on Wednesday last week but our pleas fell on deaf ears,” she stressed.

Cay adds while visiting the home one evening, the suspect wanted to use the toilet upstairs in the maisonette.

“When I said we should search his room quickly, he ran down and locked his room door.”

Another resident close to the family during the search, Bronwyn Moses, says the suspect attended the night vigil on Saturday evening holding a candle in memory of the little girl after she was found.

Police would not confirm the details in the voicenote at the time of going to print.

Cape Times

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