How ‘Modimolle monster’ was snared


johan kotze in custody

SUPPLIED

(File photo) A handcuffed Johan Kotze inside the holding cells at the Modimolle police station.

As murder suspect, Johan Kotze, prepares to appear under heavy police guard in the Modimolle Magistrate’s Court on Friday, his estranged wife, whose gang-rape and mutilation he allegedly orchestrated, will be getting ready to to bury her murdered son.

Mutilated with nails, screwdrivers, pliers and a grinder, the mother, allegedly raped by three men while held at gunpoint, will lay her 20-year-old son, to rest in the nearby town of Bela Bela.

Kotze allegedly executed the Tuks student after making his mother listen to his pleas for mercy.

Battered, bruised, bleeding and exhausted, Kotze, 50, on Thursday pointed out certain sites to police.

He was arrested on Wednesday morning as he sought help from his friend and landlord.

Hunted by bloodhounds, specialised game trackers tracing his steps after nearly 12 hours on the go, and with a police helicopter circling overhead, Kotze knew he had to make a move.

With time and options running out, the only place he could think of to go for help was the home of his friend and landlord, Dirk van der Merwe.

Dubbed the “Modimolle Monster”, Kotze had been spotted on Tuesday night buying food at the Duggans Supermarket and Bakery after having been on the run for eight days.

He had fled after allegedly orchestrating the gang-rape of his estranged wife and apparently executing her son, a Tuks computer science student.

Panicking after being spotted at the supermarket, Kotze raced off at high speed, crashing his car into a tree close to his hideout. It was less than 2km from his rented house where he allegedly lured his estranged wife and her son to.

With community members hot on his trail, Kotze, who was injured in the crash, fled.

He left behind clothes, water, food and money.

While fleeing, Kotze tripped over trees, tearing his clothes and cutting open his legs as he tried to make a getaway.

With a violent storm ripping through the area, Kotze managed to stay ahead of his pursuers, who in the dark and pouring rain, were unable to pick up his tracks.

With apparent expert knowledge in bush survival tactics, Kotze is thought to have further injured himself as he tried to lay down a trail to confuse those tracking him.

Investigators believe that dazed and possibly confused over his exact whereabouts, Kotze eventually spotted the lights of the small farming town in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

It is suspected that he crept close to several houses, waiting till sunrise before making his move.

Sources say they suspect an exhausted Kotze, whose disappearance last week sparked a countrywide search involving Interpol, eventually decided that he could no longer continue running.

With a helicopter circling over game farms, smallholdings and farms in the Drie Hekke area, where his hideout had been found, and heavily armed farmers, community police forum members and police erecting cordons around the town, Kotze is thought to have decided to try to seek help.

His plan is thought to have involved trying to convince Van der Merwe to help him, possibly with either escaping or surrendering.

Making his way through the outskirts of Modimolle’s suburbs, Kotze walked through properties until he eventually reached the supermarket where he had been spotted the night before.

Making contact with Van der Merwe, who lives close to the supermarket, Kotze – who has apparently threatened to commit suicide while in custody – is said to have been terrified.

Van der Merwe was completely surprised to find Kotze outside his Schoeman Street home.

He said he (Van der Merwe) was “moer bang” (very scared).

“When I saw him I couldn’t believe it.

“He came out of nowhere and said he needed help. It looked as though he hadn’t slept for days. He was filthy and shaking like a leaf.

“He could barely stand. I couldn’t believe it was the same person.

“I was terrified. When I saw him, he said he wanted to talk, that he wanted help and that afterwards I could phone.

“When he said that, I immediately knew I had to phone the police. I thought he was going to kill me,” he said.

Convincing Kotze he should make the phone call first, Van der Merwe called the police before returning to the suspected killer.

“He was standing. I asked him what he wanted and he said coffee, but before I could make any, the cops were there.”

Van der Merwe’s call had been radioed to a nearby police patrol car, whose heavily armed members raced to Schoeman Street where they found the suspect.

Van der Merwe said he believed Kotze couldn’t take the pressure anymore.

“He had reached his end. I really think he wanted this to end.

“He was absolutely exhausted and emotionally and physically finished. Living on the run in the bush with nowhere to wash, cook food or sleep finally got to him.

“I think if he could he would have liked to go on, but he simply couldn’t,” he said.

Limpopo police spokesman, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, said Kotze and the rape suspect will appear in court together under heavy police guard amid planned protests. “(The charges against) Kotze include murder, conspiracy to commit rape and assault with the intent to commit grievous bodily harm,” he said.

Mulaudzi, who confirmed Kotze had on Thursday pointed out certain sites, said police were still searching for the remaining two rape suspects.

Asked if additional arrests of people, who allegedly assisted Kotze while he was on the run, were expected, Mulaudzi said it could not be ruled out.

“We cannot elaborate on this. The investigation is very sensitive,” he said. - Pretoria News


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