Johannesburg - "Karabo's parents are numb; they can’t even talk. They are just sitting in their house almost as if they are also dead.”
These were the harrowing words of Tshepo Mokoena, the paternal uncle of Karabo Mokoena, who was allegedly killed and burnt by her boyfriend.
Karabo had been missing since April 28, her disappearance becoming the subject of a social media trend as users searched for her whereabouts. But on Thursday, she was confirmed dead when Tshepo wrote a Facebook post alleging his niece’s boyfriend had confessed to killing and burning Karabo.
Speaking to The Star on Thursday, Tshepo described the painful experience he had to endure with Karabo’s mother when they went to the Sandton mortuary to identify her body.
“That was the worst experience I’ve ever gone though. We did not see Karabo in person but were shown pictures of her burnt body. She is burnt beyond recognition but we could obviously identify her with other features of her body because we knew her very well,” he said, with the pain in his voice almost tangible.
Tshepo added Karabo’s siblings had gone to the suspect’s Sandton apartment on April 29 to see if the deceased was there, and found her ID book and passport with the building’s security officers. This, he said, made them realise something was wrong.
“The police then went to the young man’s flat. When they opened the flat, the carpet was wet and had bloodstains all over it. We saw (surveillance) footage of him getting those big, black dustbins with wheels that are used by Pikitup, where he took the bin into the apartment, and a few hours later, he took the bin out,” he explained.
“The footage also shows Karabo came into the building and did not leave. About 2am (on Thursday), he confessed to killing Karabo, where he then directed the police to where he dumped Karabo.
“The worst thing he did was that, even after killing her, he put a tyre around her neck, doused her with petrol and set her alight. The poor girl is now burnt beyond recognition.”
Tshepo added that when the family were to the Sandton police station on Thursday, they found out that Karabo had previously opened a case of assault against her boyfriend.
However, when The Star contacted the station’s spokesperson, Constable David Mothapo, he could not confirm the assault case, saying it was Karabo’s boyfriend who had opened the assault case.
“Our records show it was the boyfriend who opened a case of common assault against a girlfriend. We don’t know whether the girlfriend was indeed Karabo, but (the suspect) was the one who opened the case,” Mothapo said.
Stephanie Leong, one of Karabo’s close friends, told The Star that her friend’s boyfriend “was someone who knew the Bible and he was always spitting verses”.
“He was a smooth talker and had his way around everything, he was always neat and put together,” said Leong.
These views were echoed by a woman who shared first-year graphic design classes with the suspect at the University of Johannesburg in 2009.
“When we had drawing classes, for example, there were times when we had to draw a naked body. (The suspect) would get up and walk out of class. I mean, he would rather fail that part of the module than to draw the naked lady in the class.”
“Everything was based on religion with him; he would refuse to do certain things if he felt something was not righteous in the eyes of God,” the classmate, who asked to remain anonymous, added.
Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo confirmed that a murder charge had been opened but that police were not ruling out further charges. He also would not comment on the allegation that the suspect had confessed.
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