Third suspect to appear on kidnapping charge

Rachel (64) and Rodney (73) Saunders were well-known botanists fro Cape Town - PHOTO: Supplied

A third man was yesterday arrested in connection with the case of a missing Cape Town couple, who have been named as Rodney (73) and Rachel Saunders (64).

Meanwhile a fourth suspect has also been arrested, however has not officially been charged, leading the ZO to believe he has been taken in for questioning.

Hawks spokesperson, Captain Lloyd Ramovha told the ZO the suspect (19), whose identity is known to the ZO, will appear in the Verulam Magistrates Court tomorrow after he was arrested in the Endlovini area, near Ngoye.

He is facing charges of kidnapping and possession of stolen property – believed to be that of the couple.

The Hawks have since issued out a media release which noted that the elderly couple has not yet been found and that a dedicated team is on the ground following on all possible leads.

‘We hereby appeal to members of the public to provide any information that could assist the ongoing investigations in locating the missing couple to call: 086010111 or SMS to crime line 32211 anonymously, alternatively to contact Colonel Flynn: 0798866792,’ the statement read.

This follows ongoing investigations by the FBI, Scotland Yard and the Hawks into a possible ‘cell’ linked to the ISIS terrorist group.

Gardeners’ World presenter Nick Bailey tweeted the last known photograph taken of Rodney and Rachel Saunders on 8 February – PHOTO: Twitter

ALSO READ: WATCH: Terrorist-linked pair hid near Mtunzini

The Saunders’, who are South African-Britons, ran an indigenous seeds store in Cape Town.

The ZO reported that the missing couple had been working with a BBC film crew, searching for rare seeds and plants in the Drakensberg’s Ithala area, before going missing two weeks ago in the Hlobane area, near Vryheid.

The UK’s Mail on Sunday reported that Rodney and Rachel Saunders had been filming with Gardeners’ World presenter Nick Bailey.

Suspects, Sayfydeen Aslam Del Vecchio (38) and Fatima Patel (27) were arrested at a homestead in Ngoye.

Del Vecchio and Patel had been connected to the case of missing couple after a large sum of money had been withdrawn from the victims’ account, alerting suspicion from their bank who in turn reported the matter to SAPS and the Hawks.

The pair has since appeared briefly at the Vryheid Magistrate’s Court on February 19.

Their matter has now been moved to Verulam Magistrate’s court on March 01, for a formal bail application.


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Orrin Singh

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