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By Citizen Reporter


Manhunt launched after renowned primatologists found murdered in Eastern Cape

Prof Judith Masters and her French-born partner were found murdered in their Eastern Cape home on Monday.

Eastern Cape police have launched a manhunt for the killer or killers of a former KwaZulu-Natal Museum deputy director, professor Judith Masters (66).

A highly acclaimed academic, Masters was allegedly killed on Monday morning along with her French-born partner, Fabien Génin (50).

The couple, who were globally and nationally recognised primatologists, were found murdered in their Hogsback home.

Manhunt for those involved

Hogsback SAPS have launched a manhunt for those involved in the house robbery and murder of the couple.

The EC provincial police spokesperson Captain Siphokazi Mawisa said it is alleged that just after 9.30am on Monday, police were summoned to the scene on Main Street.

Mawisa said when the police arrived at the house, they found two bodies (of Masters and Génin) lying in one of the rooms.

She said police conducted an investigation and found that the kitchen door had been forced open and the couple’s hands and feet were bound.

There were no visible injuries, said Mawisa, adding that a post-mortem would be conducted to determine the exact cause of death. She said a case of house robbery and two cases of murder are being investigated by the police.

Anyone with information that can assist police in arresting the suspect/s can contact SAPS Hogsback on 045 962 1030 or alternatively SAPS Crime Stop on 086 001 0111 or the nearest police station. All information is confidential and callers may remain anonymous.

Masters is a former senior lecturer at the University of Fort Hare (UFH) and was also a research and zoology professor.

Couple were globally and nationally recognised primatologists

The couple was also working together on a number of initiatives at the university for the ecology and speciation research unit before they left last year. Prior to moving to the Eastern Cape, Masters was a deputy director of the KwaZulu-Natal Museum from 1998 to 2007.

Reacting to the murders, East London Museum took to social media saying: “The director, staff, and board of the East London Museum extend our deepest condolences to the families, friends, colleagues, and many former students of brilliant, internationally renowned researchers. A huge loss for the South African academic and research communities.”

According to University of Fort Hare website, Masters worked as a professor at Nelson Mandela University, adjunct professor at Griffith University in Australia, a visiting professor at Università degli Studi di Torino, in Italy, and a research professor at University of Fort Hare.

She studied at Harvard University in the U.S., the University of the Witwatersrand, Università degli Studi di Firenze in Italy, and at the University of Natal (Durban University of Technology).

Simon and Bev Haw remembered Masters with particular fondness as she was their lodger for several years.

Her passion for her field — the study of primates — was infectious. She was a world expert on bush babies and was a regular visitor to Madagascar to further her study of lemurs.

She worked with an international community of scientists, including a number of Italian colleagues which led her to a study of that language.

A firm supporter of Chris Duigan’s Music Revival, she had an abiding love of Italian opera, even naming her devoted Staffie Poochini.

She will be greatly missed by those who knew her and valued her friendship and the sincere interest she always showed in what they were doing and what they thought.

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