- Alleged serial killer Zaheera Boomgaard has been accused of murdering three people.
- Police were led to Boomgaard while investigating a missing person case.
- The missing person’s body was ultimately found and Boomgaard was connected to the murder.
The discovery of a potentially fraudulent will while investigating a missing person case ultimately linked suspected serial killer Zaheera Boomgaard to two of her alleged victims.
Warrant Officer Kevendren Govender was tasked with searching for 72-year-old British national Hari Nathvani, who had been reported missing by his family in 2020.
Nathvani, who visited South Africa at the end of January 2020, allegedly met Boomgaard on Facebook.
Following a trail of transactions which occurred on Nathvani’s bank card after he was reported missing, Govender was eventually led to Boomgaard on 15 May 2020.
Boomgaard is currently on trial in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for the murder of three people.
Govender suspected Boomgaard was using Nathvani’s bank card, so he asked if he could search her handbag and vehicle. This was after he had cornered her at a shopping complex on 16 May 2020.
Govender told the court that he did not find Nathvani’s bank card after searching Boomgaard’s handbag and car.
However, Govender stumbled across a bunch of documents on the passenger seat, which he deemed strange as most of them did not belong to her.
READ | Facebook murders: How a trail of card transactions led police to an alleged serial killer
Among the documents were at least 20 CVs, an Indian passport, a title deed to a property, and a last will belonging to Tony Mustapha.
Boomgaard allegedly said she had the will because she was helping a student. She further claimed that she had the CVs because she worked for a recruitment agency.
Govender did not know it yet, but the will would prove to be a link to two murders that Boomgaard was accused of committing.
Govender took Boomgaard into custody, but she was ultimately released without being charged.
Homing in on the wills found in Boomgaard’s vehicle, Govender said he noticed they were the exact same document, but the one had a police stamp on the bottom. It also appeared that the testator’s signature had been pasted onto one of the wills.
At that point, he believed the wills were fraudulent.
Govender then tracked down the person named as the executor of Tony’s estate.
The man confirmed that he knew Tony, but was shocked to discover a will existed. This was because Tony had allegedly not got around to making a will before he died in June 2019.
Almost three months later, in August 2020, Govender came across a report of a burnt body found in a veld near a small town called De Deur, near Johannesburg.
Govender assisted in identifying the deceased, which was later revealed to be Lynette Mustapha.
Strangled, bodies burnt
After visiting her house, Govender found an Absa bank document with the signature portion cut out. The document was titled: “Cardholders declaration: loss of card.”
The declaration document was made by Tony.
While the missing person case of Nathvani had not been solved at this point, with the identification of Mustapha’s body and the declaration document of her brother, Boomgaard had been linked to the family.
Govender handed this information over to the investigating officers looking into the murder of Mustapha.
Police then enquired whether any other bodies had been found in the area, which revealed that a body of an unidentified man had been discovered months earlier in March 2020.
DNA tests confirmed that it was the body of Nathvani.
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Nathvani and Mustapha had been strangled, suffered blunt force trauma wounds, and their bodies were set alight.
Boomgaard has been accused of murdering Mustapha and Nathvani.
She has also been charged with the murder of 83-year-old John Naisby in Cape Town in 2012.
She allegedly met Naisby via Facebook.
While his body was never found, Boomgaard was arrested and later found guilty of fraud after being found in possession of Naisby’s bank cards.
The trial is expected to continue on Monday.
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