A Mpumalanga police inspector, his niece and another man who mysteriously went missing on Saturday afternoon were found dead with bullet wounds in the bushes on Sunday.
Detective Inspector Joseph Simelane, 46, who was stationed at Machado, was last seen alive when he drove out of the police station in a police bakkie at about 12 midday.
Less than two hours later, police received an anonymous call in which a man claimed to have information about Simelane's death and wanted payment for more information.
"This raised an alarm and resulted in investigations into the policeman's whereabouts, but his cellphone was on voicemail," said Mpumalanga police spokesman Superintendent Abie Khoabane yesterday.
He said during the investigations, police discovered two bodies in two separate spots in Machado. Both had been shot.
One of the bodies was that of Inspector Simelane's niece. A spent 9mm cartridge with the RSA marks were found next to the body.
The marks were a sign that the firearm used might have belonged to the police because the bullets had been issued by the police.
Further police investigations resulted in the discovery of the police bakkie that Simelane had been driving when he left.
"The bakkie was recovered from the bushes at Schoemanskloof and its keys were still in the ignition," said Khoabane.
Police later arrested two teenagers, aged 16 and 18, for questioning at the Machado police station.
On Sunday at about 6pm, the two pointed out a spot in the bushes where they had allegedly hidden Simelane's body.
"The victim had a bullet wound in the neck and another one in the chest while his service pistol was missing," said Khoabane.
He said the boys were going to be charged with murder following the discovery of the policeman's body.
Police were looking into the possibility of linking them to the murders of the two other victims, he said.
A third suspect, believed to be in possession of Simelane's service pistol, was still at large.