A Free State man who escaped from custody 15 years after being arrested for the murder of two people was finally caught in Gauteng where he had started a family and managed to secure a job. File Picture.
A Free State man who escaped from custody 15 years after being arrested for the murder of two people was finally caught in Gauteng where he had started a family and managed to secure a job. File Picture.

Free State man on the run for 16 years for killing two people found living with wife and kids in Gauteng

By Botho Molosankwe Time of article published Jun 4, 2021

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Johannesburg - A Free State man who escaped from custody 16 years ago after being arrested for the murder of two people was finally caught in Gauteng where he had started a family and managed to secure a job.

The ages of the children are not known and police did not say when he got married to the woman.

Thapelo Samuel Mokoena, 41, from Makwane village in QwaQwa was caught in Carletonville, Gauteng, and put on trial this week where he was later handed two life sentences for his crimes.

It all stared on August 23, 2004 when Mokoena and three others arrived at Dankbaarheid Farm in Bethlehem.

Brigadier Motantsi Makhele of the Free State police said the four men then brutally murdered Johanna Katherine van Niekerk, 79, and her gardener, Tololo Elias Tsholo, 43.

“They also attacked two domestic workers where one was missed by a bullet, and another one shot in the hip.

“Due to the swift reaction by the police, the suspects were forced to flee the scene without stealing anything and were arrested not far from the farm,” Makhele said.

Makhele said the other three men were found guilty and sentenced. However, Mokoena escaped from the Makwane police station during the trial on July 28, 2005.

Mokoena was placed on the Top 50 list of most wanted suspects nationally, and the Top 30 in the Free State, Makhele said.

However on August 28, 2020, Detective Warrant Officer Nkosana Radebe pounced on Mokoena, bringing his life on the run to an end.

“He was found working at Hlanganani Mine in Driefontein near Carletonville and was staying there with his family,” said Makhele.

On Wednesday, Mokoena was handed two life sentences for the murder of Van Niekerk and Tsholo, and 10 years each for the attempted murder of the two domestic workers.

The sentences will run concurrently.

IOL

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