Body of missing Southport woman identified, man arrested on murder charge

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The body of a woman that was found in bushes along Southport beach on Tuesday  (2014-11-18) at 15:00, has been positively identified as that of Ella Sophia Potgieter, 43, who went missing last Thursday.  The victim was reported as missing by her husband after she failed to meet him at the beach later in the day as they had planned.  On Friday morning members from Search and Rescue K9 Port Shepstone, Port Shepstone police divers and TRT members, started searching along the beach.  Information was gathered that she was last seen walking  with a 23-year-old male on the  beach on the day that she went missing. 

Later in the day, the 23-year-old man was traced in Margate and arrested by Lt Colonel Kobus Barnard and TRT members . He was charged on a count of kidnapping on Friday evening and appeared in court in Port Shepstone Monday.  The prosecutor however declined to prosecute  due to a lack of sufficient evidence.  He was however then re- arrested on Monday by DWO Doepie Du Plessis from Southport SAPS  on another Attempted murder case which related to a stabbing at a pub in Southport.  It is alleged that he stabbed the victim at the pub on 24 October 2014 after an argument.    Meanwhile the search for missing Ella still continued in rivers, along the beach and in tidal pools without any success. 

 On Tuesday the 23-year-old suspect in the Attempted Murder case told police that he wanted to do a ‘pointing out’.  He took police to a stretch of beach at Southport where the body of a woman was found.  She was in an advanced state of decomposition. He also pointed out where her clothing and other items were buried in the sand.

 On Wednesday a post mortem was held and it was established that the cause of death was manual strangulation.  The woman was also positively identified as Ella Sophia Potgieter.  DWO Du Plessis then arrested the 23-year-old suspect (who is already in custody for the Attempted Murder case at the pub) and he will be charged for Murder and Rape.  He will appear in court on Thursday.  He also appeared in court on Wednesday in connection with the Attempted Murder case, which was remanded to Thursday.

Port Shepstone cluster commander Major General Thembi Ndlovu expressed her appreciation towards the SAPS members for their perseverance in the search and for arresting the suspect.


Lt Col Zandra Wiid

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