Major breakthrough in Port Elizabeth retirement home murders
PORT ELIZABETH - Police officers have arrested five people, including an old age home caregiver, after two elderly women were murdered in their rooms at a retirement centre in Stella Londt Drive in Port Elizabeth this week, Eastern Cape police said.
It was alleged that on Thursday, at about 5.45am, staff found two elderly women murdered in separate rooms at the retirement centre, Colonel Priscilla Naidu said in a statement.
"It is further alleged that during the early hours of the morning, an unknown number of suspects entered the premises through an unlocked door and security gate on the upper level of the main building in the complex."
The suspects entered the first room, where they confronted Agnes Elaine Burns, 91.
She was found on the bed with her feet and hands tied and her mouth gagged. The room was ransacked. The suspects then entered another room further down the passage where they then confronted Rosemary Langton, 87.
She too was found with hands and feet tied and mouth gagged. Her room was also ransacked, Naidu said.
Police believed robbery to be the motive. Kruger rands, elite watches, gold rings, and a wedding band with a precious stone as well as other jewellery and a cellphone were taken.
The team of investigators, led by the Mount Road policing cluster detectives head Colonel Paul Orange, with the assistance of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), worked tirelessly around the clock in an attempt to make a breakthrough.
Eventually, between 1am and 2am on Friday, five suspects - one women and four men - were arrested within the Port Elizabeth area. Some of the stolen items were recovered from a suspect in the Kuyga area. The female suspect, aged 34, is a caregiver at the retirement home and was on duty during the murders.
All five suspects would appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrates' Court on Monday, A 30-year-old man and the 34-year-old woman would be charged with murder, while the other three suspects, aged 20, 27, and 33, would appear on charges of accessory to murder and money laundering, Naidu said.
Eastern Cape police commissioner Lt-Gen Liziwe Ntshinga commended the investigating team for their dedication and tireless investigation.
"Crimes against women, children, and the elderly is a priority for the South African Police Service. Therefore their safety is of utmost importance. We will continue to work in close collaboration with the prosecuting authority to ensure a water-tight case against those arrested," she said.