The investigators were hard at work and are now more convinced that there was foul play involved.
According to a report, Mr Kruger is said to have disappeared in the early hours of November 13, 2022 after attending a bachelor’s party at Henbase Lodge, near Morgenzon.
It is further reported that his friends sought for him as well as his car. After learning of his disappearance, this was formally reported to the Police.
Sadly, he was found dead and his body was then taken out of the Vaal River few days later, on November 22, 2022. His car, a white Toyota Bakkie was also retrieved from the said river.
An Inquest docket was registered and the Investigators immediately began probing. It was during the course of the investigation when Police unearthed that the victim’s mobile phone and the vehicle’s tracker were off.
Though there were some beliefs that the victim could have taken a journey, driving back home to Groblersdal in the morning of November 13, 2022 then probably hijacked along the way.
Later, it was alleged that Mr Kruger could have driven his vehicle straight into the Vaal River which is not far from the lodge where the Bachelors party was hosted.
However, the Police Investigators followed all possible leads and a massive search was conducted subsequent to the report made by his family at Groblersdal Police Station regarding his disappearance.
It is said that on Monday, November 14, 2022, a search continued through out the week until Friday, November 18, 2022 focusing mainly on the Vaal River, which is across the front of the said lodge.
Read more here: Gebedsbyeenkoms vir Willem Kruger
Various role players from the SAPS as well as members of the public assisted a lot with the search using a variety of technological methods.
Read more here: Lof vir polisie se ondersoek in Willem Kruger saak
It was in the morning of November 22, 2022 when his vehicle was found inside the Vaal River, shockingly at an area that was thoroughly searched earlier during the week from November 14, 2022 until November 18, 2022.
After the vehicle was recovered from the river, the body of a man was found inside the vehicle then later confirmed through dental records to be the body of Mr Willem Kruger.
The probe by the Police has been ongoing and an Inquest docket was opened as everybody was made to believe that Kruger drove himself into the Vaal River.
Through further investigations, it was discovered that Mr Willem Kruger did not drive himself into the river. Police also learned through investigation that the vehicle’s gear was found in a park mode with its handbrake pulled up.
The car keys were not found in the ignition and all of that raised some eyebrows amongst members of the investigation team.
Police are convinced that Mr Kruger as well as his vehicle were not inside the Vaal River during the week when a search was conducted.
No further details of the investigation will be shared at this stage. The SAPS investigators are working together with the National Prosecution Authority (NPA). For now the case was changed from inquest into murder following the alluded developments.
The Police in collaboration with the NPA are looking at the possibility of probing charges of defeating the ends of justice on this case as well as Perjury charges against certain persons of interest whose identities cannot be revealed at this stage.
It must be noted that Police received a lot of calls from concerned members of the public who were keen to know the status of the investigation. It is from this backdrop that the Police deemed it fit to share on the progress of the investigation of the case which has drawn a huge interest from the public.
Police further request anyone who might have valuable information that may assist further in the investigation to contact the Lead Investigator, Detective Warrant Office Vukile David Nhlapo at 067 336 2121 or call the Crime Stop number at 08600 10111.
Alternatively members of the public can send information via MYSAPSAPP. All received information will be treated as confidential and callers may opt to remain anonymous.
Meanwhile the Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has reassured the public that the team of detectives assigned to probe this matter are seasonal detectives that are well equipped and skilled.
The General further indicated that these members will surely produce desired results, thereby ensuring that justice is served.