Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marleen Konings: The Missing Dutch Girl

Ghost From the Past

One of the numerous fraud charges the police were investigating countrywide against Ferdinandt Mostert related to the unlawful use of a credit card in the Northwest province in the late nineties. The credit card belonged to a released prisoner who had been jailed with Mostert. This man, Michael John Victor, had been found dead by a motorist with a flat tire on May 4, 1997, in dense foliage near Hartbeespoortdam in the Gauteng province. Victor had been reported missing a month earlier. He had been shot in the head.

Police discovered that Victor's credit card was still being used, however. On May 17, 1997, Insp. Johan Grobbelaar received word that Victor's red Toyota pickup was at a hotel in Badplaas in the Mpumalanga province. There was only one guest—Michael Victor. Insp. Grobbelaar found the dead man at the bar, conversing on a cellular phone. When he'd finished, the inspector identified himself and, on request, the man handed him his identity document. Insp. Grobbelaar folded it open. It said Michael John Victor and contained a photo of the man sitting in front of him. But the photo had been pasted in and very poorly at that.

A search of the man's person yielded Victor's credit card and the keys to the pickup. The man then stated that his real name was Ferdinandt Mostert. In his room, police recovered a backpack containing Victor's check book, second credit card and cellular phone charger. There were also 36 bullets. Under the pickup's front seat, they retrieved a Rossi .38 revolver, which Mostert informed the inspector had been stolen. He was then arrested.

Mostert claimed, however, that there was a reason why he was in possession of Victor's belongings. Victor was attempting to dodge a police investigation against him. To that effect, he had traded his pickup for Mostert's car and had told the latter to use his credit cards and check book all over the country so as to confuse the investigators. Meanwhile, Victor would be fleeing into neighboring Swaziland. There was no record of any investigation against Victor, nor any evidence that he had gone to Swaziland at any time.

They did find the owner of the revolver, though. It was determined that it had been stolen from a pastor in Perdekop near the town of Volksrust. Rev. Willem van de Wall met Mostert as "Richard Coetzee" in 1997 after the latter had been released on parole. Mostert performed a number of jobs around the house for the reverend, including fixing his ailing car. They grew to be friends. During one visit, when Mostert enquired about a safe he'd noticed in a bathroom, Rev. Van de Wall retrieved the key and opened it, showing him the revolver and ammunition it contained. When the pastor returned from vacation a while later, the .38 Rossi revolver and 40 bullets as well as a watch and a pair of spectacles were missing.

 

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