Mom, boyfriend held after beach death

By Yazeed Kamaldien Time of article published Mar 4, 2012

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Unconfirmed reports on Saturday were that police have detained the mother of missing eight-year-old Savannah Mersin, along with the mother’s boyfriend for questioning, after a body believed to be the child’s was found on Friday afternoon near Muizenberg beach.

This was revealed on Saturday by Savannah’s foster mother Felicity Coetzee and the child’s grandmother Gadija Titus. Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut wouldn’t confirm or deny the news.

The family members also told Weekend Argus that they would return to the morgue tomorrow, after being turned away on Saturday. They said they were told that the girl’s body was severely disfigured.

According to Coetzee and Titus, the mother and her boyfriend had been detained at the Steenberg police station since Friday night. The pair had allegedly been seen near Sunrise Beach, where the child’s body – yet to be positively identified – was found in sand.

Savannah has been missing since the beginning of last week.

Coetzee said a “man who works for the council saw them (the mother and boyfriend) at the beach”.

“Detectives told us that he identified them at the police station. They slept at the police station on Friday night. They were still there when we left the police station on Saturday,” she said.

Titus and Coetzee added that they accompanied detectives to the Salt River Mortuary on Saturday expecting to identify the girl, but they were not allowed in.

“They (detectives) said her face was too ugly. Her features were spoiled. We would not be able to see her,” said Titus, adding that they were severely shocked.

Police told them the child was found with a plastic bag over her head, and appeared to have been strangled with a school shirt. - Weekend Argus

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