THE partially decomposed body of top GaRankuwa crimebuster Inspector Bachipile Andrew Rapeta, who went missing 73 days ago, has been found in an open veld.

Director Piet Byleveld, who led the six-member team that investigated Rapeta's disappearance, yesterday confirmed that the body found on Sunday was definitely that of the missing cop.

He would not reveal details of how he was identified, the cause of his death or what else was found at the scene in Zone 4, GaRankuwa.

The body was discovered by a cattle herder on Sunday.

Byleveld said a postmortem would be conducted on the body today at the GaRankuwa government mortuary to determine the actual cause of death.

GaRankuwa police spokesperson Inspector Matthew Nkoadi said Rapeta's head was badly damaged, apparently by a large rock that was placed on it.

Nkoadi said they identified Rapeta by his tie and the jacket he was wearing.

Yesterday morning, Sowetan visited the Rapeta family in Lebanon, Mabopane, and found his widow Sarah Rapeta in the company of her mother Matshidiso Mabuse, her three brothers and a sister, as well as the couple's son Thato, 25. Members of her congregation also paid her a visit.

Sarah said that she and her family would be able to find closure once the body had been positively identified as that of her husband.

"We have been waiting too long and all we need is closure. We will be satisfied with the outcome of the forensic tests."

Rapeta, known as BA to his friends, colleagues and drinking buddies, went missing on his way home from work on the night of July 2.

His wife and their two children, Ofentse, 21, and Thato, a nursing student, last saw him when he left for work that morning.

Two days after his disappearance, his metallic blue Nissan Almera was found parked in the bush behind the old traffic department in Zone 15. The car was locked and nothing appeared to be missing.

Rapeta, who served the police for 28 years as a detective, is remembered as a dedicated cop and religious gentleman.

According to those close to him, he always carried a Bible wherever holy book.