Last hours of anguish

The police are still searching for clues as to whether a young Windhoek woman was murdered or committed suicide.

31 March 2019 | Crime

Windhoek • Ronelle Rademeyer

Cellphone records and CCTV footage are being studied for answers on the last hours of anguish preceding the death of the 29-year old Elna-Marie Abbott on Thursday evening.

Abbott went missing on Wednesday evening and her sisters, Windy Engelbrecht and Elzane Abbott, as well as other family members posted photos of her on social media, asking the community's help in finding her.

The discovery of her decapitated body early on Friday morning on the railway tracks close to the new Marigold Hotel and Game, immediately had Namibians speculating about a possible murderer on the loose on social media.

The driver of the south-bound train making its way to the Windhoek station, saw the body on the tracks and alerted the police.

Investigation continues

The head of public relations at the Namibian Police (Nampol) deputy commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi, told this newspaper yesterday afternoon that the police are continuing with the investigation of suspected murder even after her Volkswagen Golf (N27434WB), was discovered about six hours later. Her personal belongings and notes to her family were also found there.

Abbott parked her vehicle in the basement of the Merensky Tower apartment complex in MerenskySstreet after midday on Thursday. Willem Kandjebo (20), a security guard at this complex, said that she had driven into the basement at about 14:00.

“She sat in her car for a long time and then called me over. She asked me to go and buy her a Coke and a recharge voucher for her phone.”

His colleague, Clemence Kambonde, offered to go to a café not far from there.

“She gave me the money and said I should buy a 2 l Coke for us as well. When I came back, I gave her the Coke, the N$30 recharge voucher and her change.

“She sat in her car until about six o'clock. She then got out and went into the building where she left the keys of her vehicle, together with handwritten notes with the woman at the reception desk,” he said, adding that she left on foot and that he hadn't seen her after that.

According to him, on Friday one of the tenants noted that the registration number of the Volkswagen Golf parked in the basement is the same as the number of the vehicle her family distributed on Facebook. They called the police.

Apart from her handbag, purse and cellphone, the police also found bags with clothes, make-up, shoes and medication in her car.

According to Kambonde, she looked “normal” and was kind to them.

The handwritten notes, one in Afrikaans and the other in English, contained the number of her sister, Windy, with instructions to call her to collect the car.

The building is about 1.2 km from where her body was discovered the next morning.

The luxury new Marigold Hotel, where she worked as food and beverage manager until the end of February, is about 300 m from the railway tracks.

Chris Shivolo, managing partner at this hotel, told this newspaper he is shocked by her death.

“She was a kind-hearted person and always very friendly. No one deserves to die like that.”

He said it is not clear why she quit her job. She had been working there since the hotel opened in October last year and lived on the premises.

Faring better

According to a Facebook post by a friend from her high school days at Moria Private School in Outjo, Karien Jooste Groenewald, Abbott suffered from depression but was faring better. “There are many, many people that are devastated today. There is no way that anybody can convince me it was 'her time'. . . Namibia, what now?”

This newspaper learned that the CCTV footage from cameras at the back of the Namibia Civil Aviation Agency's head office next the railway tracks is being studied by the police, together with messages in her cellphone.

According to a source close to the investigation, the south-bound train to Keetmanshoop rode past the spot where her body was discovered at about 20:30 on Thursday evening.

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