Gay campaigners in South Africa have turned into sleuths to help solve the mystery of a series of murders of gay men in Gauteng Province.
The string of killings began with the killing of Manolis Veloudos in April 2010. Seven more gay men were killed under similar circumstances, culminating with the murder of Rulov Seneval in February 2012.
The fact that all eight murders share certain similarities, including the apparent ease of entry into the victims’ homes, that they were all strangled and were all gay men suggests that this may be the work of a serial killer, according to LGBT campaigners.
OUT Well-Being, an non-profit organization which provides direct health services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities issued a press release warning gay men to be vigilant when making contact with other men.
Due to the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) lack of progress with the case, OUT has begun to take an active role in the investigation.
Dawie Nel, director of OUT told Gay Star News: ‘We have set up teams consisting of members of our organization and families and friends of the victims to maintain pressure on the SAPS to follow through this investigation and get results.
‘One of the victims’ cell phones was found in the possession of a spiritual healer who’d made calls on it the day after one of the murders. We believe this and other leads have not been followed up by the police.’
OUT have also engaged the services of a private investigation team to look into the evidence which links phone numbers from the victims to the killer, and user accounts for dating and social networking sites like Gaydar that OUT suspect were used by the killer to make contact with the victims.
They hope that the investigative team’s analysis of this evidence when presented to the SAPS in a comprehensive dossier will persuade them to act.
The full list of murders they are investigating is:
- Manolis Veloudos in April 2010
- Jim Cathels in Berea in December 2010
- Oscar O’Hara (33) in May 2011
- A 47-year-old unnamed landlord in Northcliff in August 2011
- Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo (36) in Soweto in September 2011
- Barney van Heerden (39) in Orange Grove, also in September 2011
- HIV and AIDS activist and television presenter Jason Wessenaar (39) in his Pretoria West home in December 2011
- Rulov Seneval in February 2012