Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

David Selepe

Disaster Struck

Selepe agreed to take the detectives to the sites where he had left the bodies. On Saturday, December 17, he indicated three places where bodies had been found. He also later took the detectives to the four previously unknown sites. On Sunday, December 18, while Selepe was pointing out the scene where Amanda Thethe's body had been found on August 6, disaster struck.

Three of the six detectives investigating the murders, Felix Tiedt, Timothy Mngomozulu and Joseph du Toit, accompanied Selepe - in handcuffs and ankle chains - on Sunday. At Geldenhuis station, they had to cross rough terrain to get to one of the scenes. To prevent Selepe from being injured (which might later have been used to accuse the detectives of brutality), his ankle chains were removed. Selepe pointed out the place where Amanda Thethe had been found. He also told them of a plastic bag shoved beneath some dense bushes, where he claimed he had hidden her underwear. Selepe's handcuffs were removed so that he could show them the bag. When Det. Tiedt bent down to retrieve the bag, he was hit across the back with a four-inch-thick branch, and he fell to the ground. He heard Det. Mngomozulu yell, "Stop! Stop!" as well as something in another language. Then a gunshot rang out, and Selepe slumped to the ground, a gaping wound in his head. He was rushed to Johannesburg Hospital, where he died at 5:00 p.m.

Johannesburg Hospital
Johannesburg Hospital

This incident irrevocably tainted an investigation that so far had included 30,000 work hours, 37,500 miles of driving, 5,000 incoming and 6,000 outgoing calls, an investigation which otherwise had gone relatively well. After all, since the Brixton Unit took over the investigation in mid-September, only two months had passed before they had their main suspect identified and one additional month before he was arrested - and that was after detectives tracked him all the way to a neighboring country.

 

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