Police investigate ‘unusual’ murder

Hilary van Rooyen

A police murder investigation if focused on the mysterious figure seen entering the property of an Eversdal woman shortly before she was found dead.

Durbanville police are trying to identify the visitor to Hilary van Rooyen’s home last week.

The 53-year-old woman’s body was found at her Sondal Street home on Tuesday May 9.

Durbanville police Lieutenant-Colonel Theo Fisher said CCTV footage shows a person in a hoodie and sunglasses entering the property after 11am and leaving about 40 minutes later.

Lieutenant-Colonel Fisher said the case was unusual because “there were no signs of forced entry and only a cellphone was stolen”.

Robbers usually turned homes upside down and took whatever they could grab, he said.

A local shop-owner called the police, after seeing the mysterious person at the Van Rooyen’s home.

A police officer in the area was dispatched to the home where he found Ms Van Rooyen’s body.

“She had a wound to her head, and there was lots of blood,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Fisher.

Ms Van Rooyen’s death has alarmed the community and the Durbanville Community Police Forum (DCPF) has called for calm.

DCPF acting chairman Glenn Schooling said they had met with police management on Thursday May 11.”Leads and evidence are now being followed up and we are sure that it will lead to an arrest shortly,” he said.

News of the incident spread quickly on social media with many residents questioning their safety.

Jennifer Holzapfel wrote : “Too terrible for words…what has happened to our ‘safe’ suburbs? And the worst of all, these murderers are all walking around free…Frightening to say the least.”

Another post read : “Remember growing up in Eversdal sleeping with open windows; the world is just not the same.”

Ms Van Rooyen’s childhood friend, Mandy Spaight Straszacker, described her as a wonderful, soft-natured person.

“After school, we all lived our own lives and had our own families, but if Hilary bumped into you at a shopping centre, she would always make a point of stopping you and trying to catch up the years missed,” she said.

Mr Schooling said the DCPF regarded this as an “isolated case” saying there was no reason for the community to panic.

“Murders are not the norm in Durbanville,” he said.

Lieutenant-Colonel Fisher said the police had seen a decrease in the number of house break-ins for the year. There had been seven murders in Durbanville since January, he said, but those included areas such as Fisantekraal and the farms.

Lieutenant-Colonel Fisher said they were still waiting on autopsy results to determine the cause of death.

Ms Van Rooyen leaves behind a husband and two sons.