A suspect appeared in court on 10 July for a bail application for charges of vehicle theft and fraud. This is related to Kit Johnson, a Greymont resident, who reportedly went missing on 4 June.
The arrest came after the suspect was caught driving Johnson’s vehicle.
On 10 June, the suspect went to the Sophiatown Police Station, allegedly driving Johnson’s vehicle, claiming that he had ‘seen’ Johnson in Hyde Park. Family members believe that the suspect did this in order to slow down the investigation.
Police identified the vehicle as Johnson’s and arrested the suspect for car theft.
In court, Magistrate Du Plessis confirmed that in light of the evidence before him, he was unwilling to proceed with the bail hearing as scheduled, opting rather to wait until DNA analysis could be completed by the SAPS Victim Identification Centre as well as the forensics unit which is currently testing items for any possible links to the missing man.
The Victim Identification Centre specialises in identification of missing persons via DNA collected and stored on their extensive DNA database, and have been responsible for the identification of many missing persons.
The suspect chose to dismiss his legal representation before the hearing began, but this proved irrelevant to the proceedings as the matter was postponed.
Johnson’s family and friends filled the court’s public gallery to show support. They wore #FindKit lanyards, sporting the words ‘Kidnapping is terrorism’.
Du Plessis postponed the case until 19 July, pending the outcome of the DNA analysis, which he has requested be completed as a matter of urgency.
What we know so far
The Northcliff Melville Times previously reported that a friend of Johnson’s informed his family that she had not seen or heard from him in several days.
This drove the family to investigate further, discovering signs indicating that Johnson had disappeared under suspicious circumstances.
A man who claimed that he had come to Johnson’s house to look after his dogs, said that Johnson was in Cape Town. He was immediately treated as a suspect when Johnson’s phone was traced to an address in Robin Hills with the man’s number traced to the same address. This is the suspect who is currently in custody.
During the investigation it became apparent that a large sum of money was transferred out of the missing man’s account on the day of his disappearance. There appears to be links between this money and the suspect in custody.
When the suspect reported the sighting of Johnson to the Sophiatown Police Station on 10 June, police called Johnson’s friend to identify the vehicle and found that the papers of the vehicle were in the suspect’s name and he could not explain why that was so.
When officers asked why he was in possession of Johnson’s car, he told them that he was given the car to sell.
The officers arrested the suspect for vehicle theft, and his bail application for this crime was put before the court on 10 July.