Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Tanya Flowerday: Snuff Victim?


June 16 in South Africa
June 16 in South Africa

Monday, June 16. A national holiday — Youth Day. Tanya had been missing for more than three days.

An investigating officer had been to the Flowerday home, focusing on some kind of drug connection, despite the fact that he could find not a single piece of supporting evidence. On that Monday, Delores Flowerday found her daughter's ID book in their mailbox. Tanya had had it on her on the night that she'd gone missing. The investigating officer didn't show any interest in the ID book, handling it with unprotected hands. "They treated her ID book with total disdain," Bob Flowerday told Debora Patta during an interview for 3rd Degree, "throwing it back on the side table, and left."

Tuesday, June 17. Tanya had been missing for more than four days. Her father phoned the Fairland police station and asked to speak to the investigating officer. No one knew a detective by that name. Bob Flowerday had to lose his temper for a second time in order to get cooperation from the police. With the stress and worry for his daughter's safety, it wasn't difficult.

At length, the station commander phoned him. The "investigating officer" turned out not to be a real police officer, but a police reservist. In addition, the case had ostensibly been transferred to the Linden station, since it fell in their jurisdiction. Bob and Delores went to the Linden station, where nobody knew anything about Tanya's case.

Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa

Wednesday, June 18. It took the Flowerdays five days to find someone who really listened to their plight. These two detectives recommended that they go to the morgue and drove them to the Johannesburg Mortuary. Here, at last, they found their daughter. Beaten, broken and abused on a bloody trolley. It was "a terrible sight for a parent to see", Bob told 3rd Degree. Not even the people at the mortuary seemed to care about her.

Tanya had in fact been found the very next day after Bob had dropped her off at Julian's Bistro. On a sidewalk in Durham Street, Darrenwood, she had been left in a sitting position against a wall.

She had lain in the mortuary for five days. Unidentified. Unnamed. Unclaimed.

Unfortunately, the incompetence did not end there. At the mortuary Tanya's clothes were given to her parents. They took it home and her mother finally washed it because "I couldn't bear looking at Tanya's blood on it any longer", she told the Beeld of October 10, 2003. This meant that only her torn panties, collected as part of the sexual assault kit, would be available for forensic analysis. The Flowerdays only realized that they might inadvertently have destroyed valuable evidence when the police contacted them some time later, asking for the clothes.

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