WATCH | 'Her heart was missing': Cop still believes Karabo Mokoena's death a 'ritual murder'
The lead investigator in the Karabo Mokoena case is still convinced that the young woman was murdered as part of a ritual killing – and has revealed that “60%” of her internal organs‚ including her heart‚ were missing when her burnt body was discovered.
“When the body was found‚ the body of Karabo‚ there were about 60% body parts missing... From my experience such things... you find in cases that are cult or maybe ritual-related matters‚” Captain Malefetsane Phillip Radebe told TimesLIVE.
He added that remnants of Karabo’s skull and part of her rib cage were all that remained of her upper body.
“Things that will direct the pathologist in terms of him making a decision‚ or making a direction in order to say: this is the cause of death‚ things like intestines‚ internal organs‚ they were not there.”
Asked if Karabo’s heart had been found‚ he responded: “The heart was not there.”
“It also makes sense that there is high probability that this matter could be‚ was‚ a ritual murder‚” Radebe said.
Radebe said one of the witnesses that he had first interviewed as part of his investigation claimed that Mantsoe had taken Karabo “to a certain place where they had to do this ritual”.
“They were apparently cut somewhere on their bodies and their blood was mixed‚ and the purpose of that ritual was to tie them in terms of a relationship‚ in terms of them going financially‚ and part of the conditions of the ritual was that should any of the two separate… then one needs to be sacrificed in order to attain whatever the ritual was all about.”
This story was reiterated by “two to three” other witnesses‚ he said‚ leading him to believe that Karabo’s murder “had something to do with some cult”.
Johannesburg High Court Acting Judge Peet Johnson did not accept Constable Helen Mahwete’s evidence that Mantsoe had actually confessed to killing Karabo as part of a ritual murder.
Acting Judge Peet Johnson was scathing in his sentencing of convicted murderer Sandile Mantsoe for the killing of Karabo Mokoena, on May 3 2018. Mantsoe received an effective 32 years in prison.
Mahwete testified that Mantsoe had admitted to her that‚ when he began dating Karabo‚ they had gone to a person named Master‚ who performed a ritual to connect them spiritually and so that their foreign exchange business could be strong. Should they part‚ a sacrifice would have to be made‚ Mahwete claimed.
Prosecutor Phakanyiswa Marasela said she did not pursue these ritual murder allegations because they were not accepted by the court.
“If the court does not accept it‚ then definitely I cannot accept it. Because‚ in the first place‚ it was said to a constable‚ and she testified about that ritual thing. But the court said we cannot accept. So I could not accept it.”
As a result‚ Marasela said‚ she believed abuse was at the heart of why Mantsoe had murdered Karabo.
“For me‚ as I looked at him in court‚ and as I spoke with him as I cross-examined him‚ he is a person who does not value a woman. That is what I could see from him: that he does not value a woman‚ and hence that led him to not value the life of a person.”