Body found believed to be that of missing man
A dramatic case that led to the arrest of seven people and the recovery of a body in a field in Seawinds has finally been solved thanks to the tireless work of Grassy Park police.
The family of Ri’fat Booranoodien, from Schaapkraal, reported him two months ago and police have been investigating his disappearance after an alleged extortion attempt.
On Thursday April 29 a body was dug up in a shallow grave in a field behind Seawinds at the Rondevlei Nature Reserve and police have since made seven arrests in connection with the case.
Mr Booranoodien’s family believe it is him because the shoes found on the body were the same as the sneakers he was wearing on the day he went missing.
Grassy Park police spokesperson Captain Wynita Kleinsmith said the body found at the field was badly decomposed: “The body was in the hole for plus minus two months but we cannot confirm anything yet. It is still under investigation and we’re waiting on DNA.”
Mr Booranoodien’s family reported him missing on Sunday February 21. Captain Kleinsmith said police were led to a couple who had tried to extort money from Mr Booranoodien’s parents. They had his SIM card with them and claimed he had been abducted by gangsters.
There was also video footage of the couple in Ri’fat’s car on the day he was last seen and they were believed to be the last people to see him alive.
This then led to another arrest soon after – the brother of the first suspect who was living on the street close to the police station. Another arrest was made on Tuesday April 27.
“Last week Tuesday one more person, who is affiliated to a gang, was arrested and thanks to our interrogation team the suspect pointed out the location where a body was found,” said Captain Kleinsmith.
Three more people linked to a Steenberg gang were then arrested on Thursday April 29 and police uncovered the body on the same day.
The three men who were arrested on Thursday appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Monday May 3 and the other gang suspect appeared on Friday April 30. All seven are being detained at Pollsmoor prison on charges of kidnapping, theft of motor vehicle and extortion.
Captain Kleinsmith said murder could not be added to the charges until DNA tests confirmed the body was that of Mr Booranoodien, and the cause of death.
Father Anwar Booranoodien said he was sure it was his son’s body.
“I am sure because of the takkies,” he said.
“Me and my wife wife had hopes he would come home alive.
“We thought we were going to find my son alive – we were really hopeful. It was only when police called us with the sad news on Friday that we had to accept, but we are devastated and saddened. I don’t understand why they killed my son,” said the distraught father.
He, however, praised the work done by Grassy Park police. “They did a very good job. Their hard work gave us answers.”
Grassy Park Community Police Forum chairperson Melvin Jonkers was at the scene when the body was exhumed as police needed additional help with floodlights to light up the area. “It was an emotional experience and very sad to see that a human being killed another and just dumped the body,” he told Southern Mail.
He said he was aware of the police’s hard work. “In the last two weeks especially there was a lot of work done and we as the CPF commend them for their perseverance. We appreciate their effort to solve this case.”