Attack at Centurion smallholding: Afrikaner woman hacked to death
CENTURION - South Africa. June 7, 2002 - Mrs Cheryl van Houten, 51, has been hacked to death by attackers at her two-story Diepsloot area smallholding. She apparently was ambushed in the kitchen at about 19:30 Thursday-evening, hunted down through her thatched home, hacked to death and then her mutilated body was hidden in an attic.
Mrs Houten's body was found on Friday-morning. She was due to move to Johannesburg in three weeks' time and had been packing up her household goods. Van Houten, who worked for NuMetro Cinemas, had suffered at least 16 burglaries in the past year and was excited about moving, her family said.
Apparently, nothing was stolen: Wierdabrug Police Station spokesperson Inspector Ilze Jones said: "We suspect the attackers planned to take the half-packed boxes with them, but might have been scared away when Ian Kendell, owner of the smallholding who let the house to Mrs van Houten, had shone a torch into the yard."
Kendell confirmed that he had heard her two Alsatian dogs barking at about 20:00 and 21:00 that night. He shone a torch around the yard, but did not notice anything suspicious.
Hr daughter in law Mrs Jolene Palmer, who had tried to call her repeatedly from Johannesburg, had discovered her body when she and Kendell investigated the next day.
A widespread police hunt was launched for the suspects, including a search by helicopter, but late on Friday the suspects were still at large.