DNA help nab serial rapist after eight years on the run
Johannesburg - North West police officers managed to find a rapist that had been on the run for eight years and built a watertight case that led to him getting two life sentences.
The man had been untraceable for years after raping several women. However, a rape he committed in 2018 led police his way and DNA later proved that he was also responsible for other cases that had been closed.
According to Captain Sam Tselanyane of the North West Police, four women were raped between 2010 and 2018.
Despite investigations by the police, efforts to find him proved worthless, he said.
“The accused was unknown to all his victims and that led to closure of all dockets as undetected as he was untraceable,” Tselanyane said.
In 2018, he said, Jeremiah Paseka Tatai, 30, was arrested for rape. DNA was taken from his victims and taken to the Forensic Science Laboratory.
The case was then given to Sergeant Omphemetse Babuile of Klerksdorp Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit handled the case to investigate.
Tselanyane said it was later found that Tatai was linked to four other cases from 2010 that had been closed as the suspect had been untraceable.
“Following the linkage, all four dockets were reopened and investigated. Furthermore, the DNA tests were conducted and successfully matched and linked Tatai to all five cases.
“The accused was eventually found guilty on all five counts of rape and sentenced to two life imprisonment on Monday at the Klerksdorp Regional Court.
“Tatai was also sentenced to additional 20 years imprisonment. He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm in terms of Section 103 of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act No. 60 of 2000).
The North West Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, commended all those who were involved in the investigation of these cases, especially Babuile, the investigating officer.
Sello said police and all other role players will strive to ensure that gender-based violence perpetrators were brought to book and sentenced.