The parents of a suspect in the gruesome murder of 21-year-old student Naledi Lethoba handed over their son to Welkom police on Tuesday. According to police spokesperson Captain Stephen Thakeng the young woman’s body appears to have been dumped at the location where it was discovered.
“Welkom Police received information about an unknown body of an African woman found at an open field at the corner of Buren and Arrarat Streets in Dagbreek, Welkom,” said Captain Thakeng. The 19-year-old suspect, a student, has been arrested and will be appearing before the Welkom Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. It has been reported that he was in a romantic relationship with Lethoba.
However, the most shocking part of the case is the horrifying state in which her body was found. “The body was found with a knife stuck in her neck, two breasts cut off and she had burn wounds on her lower body and face,” described Thakeng. Although Lethoba was gruesomely maimed by the attack, a tattoo of her name under her collarbone remained.
Kenny Moholobela, the owner of a student commune in Doorn and the victim’s landlord, explained that he contacted Lethoba’s parents when her housemates reported that they had not seen her for a few days. “When we opened her room it was obvious that she meant to quickly come back because her laptop was on her bed and she had just poured a glass of juice for herself,” said Moholobela. When she left the commune that evening she did not know that she would not make it back.
According to Moholobela the student from Bothaville was a quiet tenant who kept to herself. There are also claims that Lethoba was about four months pregnant at the time of the murder. Police could not confirm this report. Captain Thakeng said that the cause of the burn wounds to her face and lower body form part of the investigation.
“We stress that people should not resort to violence in relationships. If a relationship ends or turns for the worst just walk away. One young life is gone and another is changed forever,” said Thakeng. –Nomaqhawe Mtebele