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North Cape - A 16-year-old boy will appear in the Griekwastad Magistrate’s Court on Thursday in connection with the murders of three members of the Steenkamp family who were shot dead on their farm, Naauwhoek, near Griekwastad in April this year.
Police spokeswoman, Captain Cherelle Ehlers, said the boy was arrested in Bloemfontein on Tuesday by members of the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigations (Hawks) in the Northern Cape.
The suspect attends a high school in Bloemfontein.
According to reports, the teenager was arrested in the principal’s office at about 12pm on Tuesday and was taken to the hostel where his belongings were confiscated by the police. Several personal items from a farm, where he stayed over the weekends, were also bagged as evidence.
His arrest follows almost four months of forensic investigations, including ballistic and fingerprint testing.
The boy’s legal representative, Stoffel de Jager, confirmed that his client was brought to Kimberley on Tuesday afternoon following his arrest in Bloemfontein, although he had not spoken to him yet.
It is believed that the boy was being assisted by a social worker in Kimberley.
Deon Steenkamp, 44, his wife Christel, 43, and their daughter, Marthella, 14, were shot dead in April in their house. They were shot several times in the head.
The only surviving family member, Don Steenkamp, 16, discovered their bodies.
He told the police at the time that he was working outside in the barn when he heard gunshots and went to investigate.
He later handed over two firearms – a .357 Magnum revolver and a .22 hand gun – that were found at the scene, to the police.
Nothing in the house was disturbed, apart from the safe that was left open.
Responding to public criticism that there had been an unusually long delay prior to the arrest, the MEC for Safety and Liaison in the Northern Cape, Patrick Mabilo, said that a dedicated team of detectives spent many sleepless nights in an attempt to solve the case.
“The arrest represents a breakthrough in the investigation. Police officers have been meticulous in following up all leads and ensuring that their case is watertight.”
Mabilo also added that the arrest would bring closure to the next of kin. “The family has suffered a double blow because they have been victims of violent crime and have lost loved ones. The justice system deals harshly with perpetrators, regardless of whether they are minors or adults.”
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