Cape Town – Mario-Cesar Deus Yela, the man accused of murdering his twins at a rented holiday home in Hout Bay, is a Spanish dentist from Barcelona who had been exercising his visitation rights with his three children following a divorce from their mother, Julia Engelhorn, in 2015.
The children had visited him in Spain from December to January and he had come down to South Africa to spend three weeks with them during the Easter school holidays.
The man faces two charges of murder for the deaths of the three-year-old twins.
On the morning their mother discovered their lifeless bodies, he had dropped their older child, a seven-year-old boy, at school.
The mother had come to fetch the twins later last Thursday afternoon when she made the grisly discovery.
Deus Yela then allegedly fled in the mother’s car, but was soon arrested in Wynberg.
He was not able to appear in court due to being treated in hospital, his lawyer William Booth told magistrate Goolam Bawa on Monday. “The accused is under medical care at the Victoria Hospital under police guard. I visited him in hospital and he has fairly serious injuries. He was transferred to Groote Schuur Hospital for some tests during the weekend and was sent back.”
He said it was unclear when the 48-year-old would be discharged from hospital.
The matter was postponed until April 19. Speaking to the media after the court appearance, Booth confirmed that his client had sustained wounds. He would not comment on rumours that his client had attempted suicide. “He (Deus Yela) is in a confused state at the moment,” said Booth.
Booth said he was waiting for the post-mortem results to find out the cause of death of the twins. The police were investigating and a cause of death was yet to be determined, but sources told the Cape Argus at the time of the discovery of their bodies that it appeared the twins had been strangled.
“We are waiting on finality from pathologists who can’t clearly say yet on the cause of death.
“Its is tragic that two small children lost their lives. There should be a history of events that led up to this,” Booth said.
Engelhorn’s lawyer, Juan Smuts, said Deus Yela was due to return to Spain on the day the mother found the bodies of the twins. “The children were with him in December to January this year in Spain. This time he was joining them in Cape Town,” said Smuts.
Smuts said the mother, Engelhorn, was “not well”.
“Under the circumstances, she is taking a lot of strain. It’s a tough period for her and the family,” said Smuts. – [email protected]