Missing Benoni teen’s body found

By KGOPI MABOTJA Time of article published May 8, 2015

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Johannesburg - He was expected to attend a family braai, but at the last moment, Michael Ross changed his mind in favour of going out with friends.

On Sunday night, the body of the teenager was found in a dam next to the Lakeside Mall in Benoni. He had been missing for several weeks.

The body had started to decompose when it was found, so initially, the police could not confirm if it was that of the missing teen.

DNA test results were released and helped the police confirm that the body was that of the Benoni youth, putting an end to the three-week search for 17-year-old Michael.

Mike, as he was known to friends and family, was last seen on Sunday, April 12 after he turned down the braai invitation for an outing with friends.

His sister Nicolette Grobler said Mike was disciplined and it was out of character for him to disappear without saying where he had gone.

“He never went anywhere without informing his elder brother, whom he stayed with in Benoni.

“At first, the family thought he could have slept over at a friend’s house, but the agonising wait for his return for two whole days and futile attempts to contact him on his cellphone made the family panic,” she said.

“He never stayed out at night. We were devastated when a police officer asked us to come and identify the body,” Grobler said.

She added that Mike surrounded himself with decent friends.

“I cannot say he had bad friends, he was such a good child.

“Most of his friends were known to the family, and we don’t have any idea how this thing could have happened.”

Even though the body was severely decomposed, Grobler said she instantly recognised the designer shirt his father had bought for Mike from China.

“It was hard to see his face, his skin had turned blackish, but I was able to spot the shirt my dad had bought for him.

“We found his cellphone next to his body, it had been switched off.”

Benoni police spokeswoman Lieutenant Nomsa Sekele said the police were still waiting for an autopsy report to determine the cause of death.

The lieutenant confirmed that an inquest docket had been opened and that detectives were investigating.

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