Ricochet News

Body of missing police Sgt Michael van der Watt found at Van Stadens

MAY 4, 2017
Body of missing police Sgt Michael van der Watt found at Van Stadens

Port Elizabeth police, assisted by volunteers, on Thursday afternoon found the body of missing police Sergeant, Michael van der Watt, who had been missing since the past weekend.

According to Port Elizabeth police, Sgt van der Watt's body was found about 2 kilometres from the thicket where his bicycle was found on Wednesday in the gorge underneath the Van Stadens Bridge on the N2 Highway, outside Port Elizabeth.

The body had a single bullet wound to the head with his pistol lying next to him - police do not suspect foul play at this point.

It is understood that van der Watt had taken his service pistol when he was last seen - it was thought perhaps it was due to the recent increase in cases of attacks on cyclists.

An inquest docket has been opened at SAPS Kabega Park. 

Mystery disappearance

The mysterious disappearance of Sgt Michael Van der Watt (35), a policeman at the Motherwell Cluster Tactical Response Team and a cyclist, first came to light when his wife reported that she had not heard from husband since Sunday night.

"At this stage, information is unclear and all available information is currently being followed up. According to information on hand, Sgt der Watt was last seen by a colleague, who dropped him off at home on Sunday morning 30/04 after night shift," Port Elizabeth police said then.

"[However] neighbours claim to have seen someone leaving the house on Monday morning in cycling attire and his bicycle is missing.

"His cell phone and other personal items were left at home."

The police K9 Unit and the Air Wing conducted searches along the cycling route of Draaifontein, Seaview, Schoonmakerskop and Greenbushes as well as around his home.

On Tuesday afternoon, the search area was expanded to the Van Stadens and Maitlands areas.

On Wednesday, police confirmed that a bicycle that was found by volunteers in thick bushes in the gorge below the Van Stadens Bridge on the N2 Highway, outside Port Elizabeth, did indeed belong to the missing cop.

On Thursday, police and local residents, who have volunteered for the search, to started off from the area where the bike was found.