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Durban - A family’s search for their missing mother led them to a Durban park where her naked body was found in dense bushes.
Maria Erasmus, 52, had been missing for 10 days.
A police sniffer dog was brought in to find Erasmus’s body after her family found her clothing and other personal belongings strewn across a pathway at the Queensburgh Park, at the corner of Mount Vernon and Fremantle roads.
Rensca Herbst said her mother had visited her friend in Bankhead Road on September 27.
She had then left to visit her son Nick, about two streets away, in Mount Vernon Road.
Herbst said she realised her mother had been missing when her brother’s fiancée Yolandi smsed her to say she (Erasmus) had not been seen the entire week.
Herbst said: “My mother sleeps over at Nick’s home sometimes. Her friend was also unaware she had been missing. We all thought she was living at either one of our homes.”
Police spokesman, Colonel, Jay Naicker said Erasmus was reported missing on October 4.
An inquest docket has been opened. Herbst said she became frantic with worry as her mother suffered from epilepsy.
“I searched mortuaries and hospitals for my mother.”
The family made a breakthrough on Sunday at the park.
Herbst said she found her mother’s underwear and nightdress along a pathway in the park.
She also found a nightgown which she had bought her mother 17 years ago as a Mother’s Day gift. Three plastic packets with Erasmus’s belongings were also lying on the pathway.
A copy of her ID, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a razor blade, toys, a cosmetic set and a green dress were inside the packets.
“I was shocked. I could feel her presence nearby but we could not search any further because the bushes were too dense.”
She said a police sniffer dog was brought in on Monday to help in the search.
Queensburgh Community Watch team leade, Raymond Moore, said the dog picked up a scent within minutes and Erasmus’s body was found. The dog also found her shoes in the bushes.
Herbst said her mother was found naked.
On Tuesday Herbst went to the Gale Street mortuary to identify her mother’s body.
“It will be something that will remain in my mind for as long as I live. She was badly decomposed. We have to wait for the autopsy to be completed before we can make funeral arrangements,” she said.
Moore appealed to anyone with information to contact their nearest police station.