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Cape Town – Stellenbosch residents are reeling with shock after the charred remains of a young girl, who has yet to be identified, were found in Kayamandi.

This while Great Brak River police in the Southern Cape have launched a manhunt for a suspect on the run in connection with the brutal murder of 22-year-old librarian Clodine Nuys.

The body in Stellenbosch was found in a drain on Tuesday morning near the Azania informal settlement by a man who had gone to relieve himself in the bushes.

Residents said they did not know the girl’s identity but said she looked to be between 15 and 20 years old.

Community leader Zola Ndalasi said the discovery in Luyolo Street had caused fear and panic among residents, especially those who do not have toilets.

“Residents came to my house on Tuesday morning to report a burned body. When I arrived at the scene, I discovered a person who was burned beyond recognition. I also noticed that she was young.

“I immediately called the police. Azania does not have toilets, so we don’t know if the girl was killed while going to relieve herself or if she was killed elsewhere and dumped here. This is the first gruesome murder in our community, and I hope it’s the last,” said Ndalasi.

He said so far, no one had reported a missing child in the area or surrounding communities.

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said they were investigating a case of murder and a post-mortem would be conducted to determine the race, gender and cause of death.

In the Great Brak River case, Nuys, Jonkersberg’s only librarian, was last seen alive when she left her friend’s home at 7am on Tuesday.

Police spokesperson Malcolm Pojie said the library closes at 4pm and when she did not arrive at home at her usual time of 4.20pm, her family started looking for her.

At about 7pm that same night, her body was found by a teenage boy who had participated in a community-led search. Her body was lying at the back of a local crèche.

Her hands and feet were tied with tape and a cable tie was found around her neck. Her cellphone and the library’s keys remain missing.

“Her family went to the library but could not find her. They subsequently informed the local police who started to co-ordinate the search,” said Pojie.

He said forensic experts and investigators went back to the crime scene yesterday morning and combed it for clues and evidence.

“Ongoing investigations led investigators to a house in the same village where a possible suspect resides. On arrival, the suspect fled the area with police in pursuit. He disappeared in the dense forest,” Pojie said.

Pojie said a police search, including K-9 units based in Mossel Bay, George and Jonkersberg, was under way for the man, whose identity is known by them but cannot be made public. He said the motive was not yet known.

Anyone with information can contact investigating officer Freddie Nel on 084 610 8357, Great Brak River police on 044 602 8304/8305 or anonymously Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or SMS Crime Line on 32211.

Cape Times