CREDIT: Lerato Mbangeni – The Star
Johannesburg – When Odette Barkhuizen was murdered in June, police thought it was a hijacking, but now investigations have revealed she was the target of a calculated murder plot.
And after weeks of private detective and police investigations, sources close to the case have revealed her husband has been named as a suspect in the murder.
On June 11, the 43-year-old mother-of-two was shot in the head and the chest when she stepped out of her car on a routine trip to her Oakdene, Joburg, office, where she worked with her husband.
The hooded man who killed her then drove off in her Kia SUV, which was found two streets away the next day.
Even though he’s considered a suspect by investigators, George, Barkhuizen’s estranged husband, has been conducting his own probe into the brutal killing.
The two were sleeping in separate bedrooms and Barkhuizen had asked for a divorce a month before her death. But George has told The Star that he has struggled to accept her death.
“It has been tough. The police aren’t willing to share anything with me. I have absolutely no idea how the case is going.”
But this hasn’t stopped George from finding his own facts.
“They frowned on my idea to do my own investigation, but I hired a private investigator who has been updating me every fortnight. I’m meeting them next week again, but I can’t reveal what information I have.
“The police need to do what they do. I just hope the people who did this are found.”
George said he and his private investigator managed to track Barkhuizen’s stolen cellphone to a pawnshop just a day after she died.
“I can’t say where the pawnshop is, but we didn’t block the phone or blacklist it because we wanted to track it.”
George and Barkhuizen’s home in Glenvista was searched two weeks ago by the police.
Melissa Naidu, who is part of Paul O’Sullivan and Associates, a private investigation firm, took on the case pro bono and has since been working with the police to find out why Barkhuizen was killed.
Naidu said they knew the killer’s identity.
“I am 100 percent confident as to the identity of the person who murdered Odette Barkhuizen, but I believe it would be inappropriate at this point to name the person.
“We are indeed working with the police and I have every confidence in the professionalism and dedication of the officers we are working with. For this reason, I am certain that justice will not only be done, but will be seen to be done, and Odette’s murderer will be brought to book.”
On Saturday, police, together with the Oakdene Community Police Forum, Naidu and Barkhuizen’s family searched the bushes near where Barkhuizen was shot, looking for any evidence.
“We found what may be evidence but we’re waiting for a report from forensics,” said Naidu, who refused to say what was found during the search.
A source close to the investigation said the police were close to making an arrest.