It took two women – one recognising the face on her TV screen, and the other making a grisly discovery of charred remains on a farm in Magaliesburg – to lead to the arrest of the man dubbed the “Sunday rapist”.
“I saw the identikit and I think I know the man,” said a female voice at the other end of the line as police raced against time to capture him.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the woman told Warrant Officer Riaan Jooste that the man was (Johannes) Jaco Steyn, the Johannesburg High Court heard on Tuesday, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court in Alberton.
A quick search through the police database identified 17 Steyns. On narrowing the list down, police got to a Steyn whose second name and surname were the same as that given by the caller.
In addition, his physical address in Wilropark, Roodepoort, was in the same area where 16-year-old Louise de Waal was kidnapped.
A search of the address led to the discovery of a silver-grey Toyota-Hilux bakkie similar to the one whose driver had been seen abducting Louise earlier that day.
And while police discovered a pink cellphone and a pink and grey school bag containing schoolbooks marked “Louise de Waal” in a refuse bag in the back of the bakkie, the charred remains of the girl were discovered about 30km away from where she was seen being dragged into a bakkie.
Jeanette Ferreira told the court on Tuesday: “My brother called me to check the smoke he spotted a distance away. It was in a wooded area so I had to park a distance away, then walk a few metres.
“When I got there, the flames were out, but I saw the grass had been burnt… then what looked like a body
She made the discovery around 11am, some three hours after De Waal was abducted while walking to school with a friend.
Earrings and the navel ring the De Waal family used to identify her body were all that survived the fire, said Warrant Officer Paul Fern, one of seven witnesses who testified on Tuesday.
A forensic pathologist who conducted a post-mortem on De Waal’s body was expected to testify on Wednesday.
Steyn, whose other name is Jacobus, has pleaded not guilty to 37 charges of kidnapping, rape, sexual assault, murder, attempted kidnapping and an attempt to commit a sexual offence.
De Waal’s mother, Shireen, told The Star on Tuesday: “I’m very upset about that. It shocked me very much. We’ve got all the evidence and his confession… and he still pleads not guilty.”
Steyn had previously confessed to the crimes, including the death of 14-year-old Lizaan Farmer, of Pretoria, who leapt to her death, allegedly from Steyn’s moving vehicle after he allegedly kidnapped her and a friend in September 2010.
The friend was taken to a secluded area, where she was raped and forced to drink alcohol, allegedly by Steyn.
The trial continues.