Another frantic search for missing Soshanguve teacher proves futile

Still missing, Philile Gumede

Detectives and forensic experts digging for the remains of missing Soshanguve school teacher have called off the search.

The investigators and forensic experts had been digging for hours in the vain search of Philile Gumede’s body following a tip-off that her remains were in an overgrown field in Gezina.

“We did not uncover any evidence relevant to the investigation of Philile Gumede,” said police spokesperson Constable Zanele Mtsweni adding that the police were “of course disappointed.”

Mtsweni said the team had excavated a site after a tip-off that Gumede’s body was buried.

The primary school teacher, (27), disappeared on 22 April after her boyfriend Edwin Steynberg (33) picked her up from her honours graduation ceremony at Tshwane University of Technology.

ALSO READ: Missing teacher case collapses in the north

The investigators and forensic specialists marked off a number of sites to be dug up on Monday afternoon.

“The police arrived at a site where an informant claimed the body was. They searched thoroughly and nothing was found, it turned out that it was a false alarm,” she said.

Mtsweni said by law, a missing person file had to be closed after six months.

“So if new information emerges it will be investigated but the file has to be closed,” she said.

ALSO READ: UPDATE: Missing Sosh teacher’s family getting anxious

Recently perjury charges against Steynberg, related to the teacher’s disappearance, were withdrawn in the Soshanguve Magistrate’s Court.

Prosecutor, Salome Horne, said the charge had been provisionally withdrawn due to police failure to comply with an instruction from the prosecutor.

“Police failed to follow certain instructions before arresting and charging the accused.

The investigating officer later tried to have the case reinstated without success.

The case could be revisited depending on what the investigators are able to put together,” said Horne.


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David Matsena

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