IT took two women – one recognising the face splashed on her television screen, and the other making a grisly discovery of charred remains on a farm a few kilometres away – 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 the man.
Speaking on condition of anonymity then, the woman told Warrant Officer Riaan Jooste that she had been watching television news when she recognised the identikit .
“She said the man was (Johannes) Jaco Steyn,” Jooste told the Johannesburg High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court in Alberton yesterday.
A quick search through the police’s database identified 17 Steyns.
On narrowing down the list, police got to a Steyn whose second name and surname were the same as that given by the caller. In addition the man’s physical address, Wilropark, Roodepoort, matched the area from 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 schoolgirl Louise earlier that day.
And while police discovered a pink cellphone, a pink and grey school bag with books bearing the name “Louise de Waal” in a black refuse bag in the back of the bakkie, the charred remains of the 16-year-old schoolgirl seen being dragged into a similar bakkie earlier were discovered about 30km away from where she had been abducted.
“My brother called me to check the smoke he spotted a distance away. It is in a wooden 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,” Jeanette Ferreira told the court yesterday.
It was around 11am when she made the discovery, about three hours after Louise was abducted while walking to school with a friend.
One of the police officers who had been searching Steyn’s house about 30km from the Magaliesberg farm owned by the Ferreiras then got a call, with the caller indicating charred remains of a person who could possibly be the girl kidnapped in Florida were found.
Earrings, and the navel ring which the De Waal family later used to identify the 16-year-old’s body, were the only items that remained intact after the fire, said Warrant Officer Paul Fern, one of the seven witnesses who testified yesterday.
A forensic pathologist who conducted a post-mortem on Louise’s body was expected to testify today.
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.
This has upset De Waal’s mother, Shireen.
“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,” Shireen told Independent Newspapers yesterday.
Steyn had previously confessed to the crimes, including the death of 14-year-old Lizaan Farmer.
The Pretoria girl leapt to her death, allegedly from Steyn’s moving vehicle after she and a friend were kidnapped 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.