Police investigations into the disappearance of a 77-year-old man have uncovered a trail of unresolved murders and kidnappings of pensioners in two provinces.
Ramaphokgo Abram Mosiane disappeared in May 2007 in Zeerust in the North West.
The day after his disappearance R20000 was mysteriously withdrawn from his bank account in Sinoville, Pretoria.
Mosiane's bank became suspicious when the same amount was withdrawn in Lyttleton, also a suburb in Pretoria.
When confronted, the culprit fled, leaving behind Mosiane's doctored identity document. The photograph was that of Jan Mohlala, who was later arrested but subsequently escaped from custody.
"Mosiane disappeared in May but we only discovered his decomposed body in September in Kameeldrift, outside Pretoria," said investigating officer Captain Patrick Murunwa from Zeerust.
"We arrested Jan Mohlala and he led us to his gang members - husband and wife - Thomas Monty Mothoa and Eva Mothoa."
They were charged with murder, kidnapping and fraud. They also face similar cases in Zeerust.
"One of the people they attacked is a retired school teacher. He was going to town to withdraw money to pay people working at his house when he was approached and offered a lift and a can of spiked cool drink. He was later found in the veld by herdboys. He only woke up in hospital."
After the three were arrested, it was learnt Limpopo police were also looking for them for crimes committed between 2000 and 2007.
Mothoa faces three charges of murder, seven of kidnapping, five of fraud, one of robbery and five of theft. The trio preyed on the elderly at banks and drug them before stealing their cash.
In February, Mothoa escaped from police custody while being taken to court in Zeerust.
"We were told that on the way to court, Mothoa asked to stop at a mall to buy chicken for his wife who he was going to meet at the court," said Mosiane's furious son, Tsimane.
"He apparently escaped through the restaurant's toilet window. We went to see the window but there is no way that a man can sneak through it. Especially a handcuffed one."
Inspector William Kutumela, the officer transporting Mothoa, was arrested on charges of aiding a prisoner to escape. He was released on R500 bail and will appear in the Phokeng magistrates' court on April 28.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Mohlala and Mothoa, who are regarded as dangerous, should contact Murunwa on 082-772-5991 or Senior Superintendent Nkuna on 082-565-8506.