According to prosecutors in the eastern coastal city of Durban, British citizens who are missing in South Africa were killed, robbed, and fed to crocodiles.
Famous Botanists in South Africa Supposedly Beaten to Death and Fed to Crocodiles
Dr. Rachel Saunders, a renowned botanist, was last seen with her husband, gardener Rod Saunders, 74, at their campground in the Ngoye Forest Reserve, 90 miles north of Durban. The Durban High Court heard the case on Tuesday, February 10, 2018, according to The London Evening Standard.
The pair, who were exploring the region in search of rare plant seeds, reportedly died from being battered between February 10 and February 15, 2018, according to court records reviewed by The Times.
The records further said that after being thrown into the Tugela river, the victims were devoured by dangerous crocodiles.
The Saunders’ bones were subsequently discovered by a fisherman, according to The Times, but owing to their state of decomposition, they could not be recognised until DNA testing were done.
The Saunders, who were well-known in their industry, frequently walked into secluded woodlands in search of unusual seeds for their internet company, Silverhill Seeds, situated in Cape Town.
They were looking for uncommon flora when they recorded a piece for the BBC 2 programme Gardeners’ World with host Nick Bailey in South Africa’s massive Drakensberg Mountains in February 2018. The married pair, who had been together for 30 years, dispersed from the cast and crew on February 8 and set up camp in the Ngoye Forest Reserve.
According to The Independent, Sayefundeen Aslam Del Vecchio, 39, his wife Bibi Fatima Patel, 28, and their renter Mussa Ahmad Jackson were detained on February 15, 2018, when the location of the Saunders’ telephones was discovered, leading to their arrest.
Jackson was released after collaborating with investigators and offering crucial evidence on the case, while Del Vecchio and Patel were eventually accused with kidnapping and murder. In court on Tuesday, Del Vecchio and Patel both contested the accusations of kidnapping, killing, robbing, and stealing.
This week, text messages from Del Vecchio to Patel and Jackson suggesting that there was an elderly couple nearby to “target” for a “hunt” were produced as evidence in Durban High Court.
It was said in another text sent to an unnamed individual that it was crucial that the victims’ bodies were never discovered.
There was further information given concerning the suspects’ actions following the crime.
According to The Daily Beast, on February 13 it was “discovered that the defendants were taking money from numerous ATMs which amounted to theft of $42,000 and there was the burglary of their Land Cruiser and of camping equipment.”
According to the allegations, the accused killed Rodney Sanders and Rachel Saunders illegally and maliciously between February 10 and 15, both incidents taking place in the Ngoye Forest.
Del Vecchio and Patel were first suspected by the police of having connections to the terrorist group ISIS, in part because it was thought that they had hoisted an Islamic State flag in front of their residence. Prosecutors do not believe terrorism was a motive for the killings, despite the fact that they were already on a watchlist when they were captured, according to The Daily Beast.
The case has been postponed until October 25.
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