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Suspected coffin thief taken for mental exam

Officer Commanding: Victor Nlebesi
Officer Commanding: Victor Nlebesi

A family of a woman who was recently buried in Nxamasere village in the North West district sighed with relief this past Saturday when the corpse was found inside her grave this past Saturday.

The woman’s coffin was exhumed to check if her body was still inside it after one of the villagers was caught with her coffin lid and the family feared her body could have been removed from the grave as well.

“The pathologist was there, he examined the body and said everything was in place and so she was reburied,” explained officer commanding for Shakawe policing area, Victor Nlebesi.

32-year-old Mothusi Gabaeme was reportedly taken for psychological examination on Tuesday this week after he allegedly gave contradicting statements regarding his reason for creeping to the graveyard under the cover of the night to exhume the coffin top.

In a matter that is already before the magistrates’ court, Gabaeme has to undergo mental examination to help the court to decide on how to proceed with the matter.

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“It is not clear as to what his intentions were because his story is mixed up, hence he has been recommended for mental assessment,” added Nlebesi, who declined to share the contradicting versions of Gabaeme’s reasons.

In one of the explanations, however, Gabaeme is said to have told investigators that he wanted to dig out the coffin, clean it up and sell it to a buyer in Seronga village across the Okavango River. He claimed he had been promised P6 000 for the coffin by a prospective buyer.

He is said to have further explained that due to the hard work of having to remove all the earth from the grave and removing the corpse from the coffin before reburying it, the man is said to have failed to do it within one night and only made away with the lid before sunrise.

He said he had intended to return at night to pull out the coffin which had turned out to be way heavier than he had anticipated.

However, that same morning, some relatives visited the grave as they wanted to put finishing touches to it but found it damaged.

They followed the footsteps and ended up at Gabaeme’s house.

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“He admitted to have tried to steal the coffin but because it was heavy and he was tired from all the digging, he only pulled out the top, went home with it and covered it with sand in the yard so we reported him to the police,” said a source from the deceased’s family.

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