Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marleen Konings: The Missing Dutch Girl

Rambo

Michael John Victor had been no angel himself. On June 16, 1986, the 20-year-old waited an entire afternoon for his father, Sydney, aged 45, and his stepmother, Barbel, aged 36, to arrive at their home in Port Elizabeth. In his hands was a 9 mm pistol.

When his father came up the stairs, he shot him repeatedly and continued as the older man tried to flee in vain. His stepmother came running to see what was going on, and met with a similar fate. Victor made certain that his parents were dead by delivering close contact headshots. In all, 13 shots were fired and he had had to reload.

Lyle & Erik Menendez
Lyle & Erik Menendez

The similarities to the 1989 parricide by the Mendendez brothers didn't stop at the details of the execution. During the trial, accusations were made that he had been treated very badly by both his father and stepmother. In fact, Victor testified that he had shot them in the head because he was afraid of them. After the shooting, Victor—who loved the Rambo movies and even acquired that nickname during his stint in the army—took his father's car keys and drove off to the town of Knysna, where he was apprehended a few hours later.

Despite the fact that the crime was premeditated—not only had he stolen the firearm from the South African Defence Force, but also wore his army uniform so as not to be stopped at any roadblocks due to the Soweto Day demonstrations—Victor received a relatively light sentence at a time when the death penalty was still freely available. The judge found him to be immature and suffering from his parents' divorce. Strangely, the judge also viewed his psychopathic qualities as mitigating circumstances. Victor was ultimately sentenced to 18 years, of which he would only serve seven.

He spent this time in the Zonderwater Prison near Pretoria, which is where he met a man named Ferdinandt Mostert. On June 17, 1994, both men were released on parole. Mostert would return to prison, but somehow got into contact with Victor in 1997. Meanwhile, Victor had apparently made some effort to build a constructive life. He worked for his cousin in Johannesburg, delivering furniture. The woman who managed the store characterized him as "really lovely and intelligent", according to the Cape Argus of February 3, 2005, and believed that he was truly remorseful for the killings.

Victor had actually introduced Mostert to the manager. The last time she saw Victor, it was in a pickup alongside this man. This was on April 7, 1997. She phoned Victor on his mobile phone the next day when he failed to arrive at work. Mostert answered and informed her that Victor was ill and asleep. She was unable to reach Victor again on that phone. Mostert did, however, use this phone to call Victor's uncle on a number of occasions, telling him that his nephew was fine and that Mostert was taking him to Port Elizabeth to visit Victor's mother.

Victor's badly decomposed body was found almost exactly one month later.

Despite all this, Mostert was never charged with Victor's murder. The senior state advocate decided that there wasn't enough evidence and a magistrate instead held an inquest. The magistrate ruled that no one was responsible for the death of Michael John Victor.

Presently, the police initiated an internal investigation into the original handling of Victor's case. After all, had Mostert been imprisoned for the murder in 1997, he wouldn't have been in Mossel Bay in December 2003 to meet Marleen Konings.

 

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