Missing woman’s body found at Barrydale hiking trail, 2 arrested for stealing her car

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Police are investigating the disappearance of a Barrydale woman, whose body was later found along a hiking trail. Two suspects believed to have stolen the deceased’s car have been arrested. 

The 66-year-old Erna Gericke reportedly went for a walk at about 14:00 on Sunday, 21 March and parked her car near Rondomskrik, where most hikers leave their cars. The woman was reported missing by her husband after she had still not been home by 18:00.

Captain Malcolm Pojie reports that a search by community members and various police units ensued and the body of the woman was found between 02:00 and 03:00 on Monday morning. The search party, which included the daughter of the missing woman, found the body about 5 to 6km into the Waterfall Hiking Trail.

The woman’s body was in a badly injured state and was declared dead on the scene by paramedics. Pojie says that no foul play is suspected, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine possible causes of death.

Police members further investigated the possibility of the deceased’s car being stolen after the Citroën sedan was not where it was parked.

“Through the vigilance of the farm watch and rural safety structures,  information was passed on about the whereabouts of the car. Upon further investigation, the members found the car abandoned behind a hill near the Tradouwhoek with its right front window [shattered],” Pojie reports.

Two suspects, aged 18 and 24, were arrested after one of them was caught with the spare keys of the Citroen P3.

The suspects face charges of theft of a motor vehicle and will be expected to appear in the Barrydale Magistrate’s Court today.

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