Father says he knows who killed his son; police are apparently sitting on their hands

Henry

After the murder of his eldest son in May last year – and despite numerous pieces of evidence against the alleged killer – no arrests have yet been made. Buks van der Merwe (64) from Rayton says it is extremely difficult for him and his family to rest at night while his son’s killer simply gets on with his life.

Christo van der Merwe (42), a father of two, was last seen alive on 7 May last year. After he did not show up for work for two days, his colleagues suspected foul play.

“Christo’s foreman arrived at our house on Tuesday morning around 07:30 and asked us where he was. I last saw him the week before. We usually meet on a Saturday or Sunday. However, he was not with us that weekend.

“I knew immediately that something was wrong. It’s not Christo, he was always on time for work and wouldn’t just stay away,” says Buks.

The worried father immediately made calls and began searching for his son.

“After following a few leads, I went straight to Die Hoek Bar & Restaurant in Rayton. This is apparently where my son was last seen.”

According to Buks, the owner showed him CCTV footage in which he could see that his son was at the hangout on Sunday evening.

Another man – someone known to Christo – could also be seen on the footage. The man was apparently aggressive towards Christo.

“You can see everything on the footage. It seemed that my son was chatting with someone on WhatsApp when the drawer suddenly grabbed his phone from his hands and smashed it against a table.

“The footage also shows that this drawer followed my son when he later walked out of the bar. This is the last time my son was seen alive,” says an emotional Buks.

“I found his patches outside the bar on the grass. Christo would not walk home barefoot.”

He says that he and his partner, Daleen, drove around all Tuesday and Wednesday to look for Christo and they reported him missing at the Boschkop police station on Tuesday evening.

“On Thursday, I rode the scooter from Die Hoek bar to the highway – and combed through every sweet path he could possibly walk without any success. With the scooter I could ride on paths and get to places that would not be possible with a vehicle.

“Around 08:00, one of Christo’s colleagues called me and let me know that the whole team would go with me to help look for him.”

Moments later, Buks received the call with the words that still give him sleepless nights: “Buks, where are you? We found him.”

‘Police do nothing’

A post-mortem examination was carried out shortly afterwards, after which foul play was confirmed.

“I know my son was killed, and I know who did it. The police are also supposed to know, there is enough evidence, but they do nothing.”

Buks says that he is in regular contact with the Boschkop police about the progress with the case.

“After I reported the case and repeatedly invited the investigating officer to meet me so that I could give them all the evidence I had collected in the meantime, nothing has come of it until today.

“I have so much footage and a voice recording that directly connects the suspect… to my son’s murder. I repeatedly invited the investigating officer to come and collect the evidence from me. It’s now almost eight months later and I’m still waiting.”

The family soon after appointed a private investigator, Mntu Mbhele, to investigate the matter.

When asked by RNews, Mbhele confirmed that he is helping with the investigation.

“The deceased Christo van der Merwe was indeed found in woods near a farm at Boschkop. The post-mortem examination confirmed foul play.

“The case is at a crucial stage of investigation. So it is difficult to share every aspect of it.

“However, I can confirm that there are enough leads that the police are following up on and that suspects have been identified. Arrests will follow shortly.”

According to Mbhele, the police only have to check certain mobile phone data to catch the suspect.

However, the Boschkop police told RNews that they followed up on all information – which was provided to them by Mbhele – “and that no one could be connected to the murder”.

According to Ryno van der Merwe, Christo’s younger brother, it is bog.

“This is the same statement they forwarded to us at the beginning of the investigation. It simply doesn’t make sense. Someone is not doing their job and in the meantime we just have to accept it,” he says angrily.

“Mbhele worked hard to gather a lot of evidence against the killer. We are in regular contact. Visual material and a voice recording of an eyewitness are among other pieces of evidence that can be used against the suspect. Yet the suspect hasn’t even been questioned yet? How is that possible?”

RNews itself also listened to the voice recording in which the eyewitness spoke to Buks.

“(The suspect) sent me a message on Facebook Messenger in which he asked me if I could pick him up,” says the voice recording.

“I then got into my car and drove in the direction of Die Hoek bar and restaurant to pick him up.

“I turned off the tarmac where (the person) explained to me he was. When I got there (the suspect) was standing up and Christo – whose name I did not know at that stage – was lying on the ground.

“I saw how (the suspect) kicked Christo in the ribs and poured beer on him while he was lying on the ground. I then told (the suspect) he had to get in the car. He stepped away from Christo and got into the car.

“After that I also told Christo he had to get in the car so I could take them to the farm, but he didn’t want to.

“Christo stood up and said ‘eina, it hurts’. I asked him again to please get in the car, but he said he was going to walk.

“I was driving and saw him start walking in the direction of the farm. I dropped (the suspect) off at the farm at around 19:45 and went home immediately afterwards, my wife can testify to that,” says the voice recording.

Buks is furious about the course of the police investigation. “It’s weak. So far I have done everything myself to gather evidence against my son’s (alleged) murderer.

“My son was killed in the most brutal way imaginable and left in a field and even though we know who did it, nothing comes of the little man. He just gets on with his life dead simple.

“At night I wrestle with thoughts of taking justice into my own hands. Christo was my best friend. We always rode motorbikes together and I loved him so much… and one day he was just suddenly ripped out of our lives.”

Buks says he has heard numerous rumors that Christo’s alleged killer is a drug user.

“My son was a good man. He did not deserve to die in this cruel way. We only seek justice for our Christo; for his two little girls who now have to grow up without a father. We just want the police to do their job.”

A crowdfunding campaign has meanwhile been launched on BackaBuddy to help the family cover the expenses of the private investigator – who they were forced to hire in order to get justice for Christo.