Pelser: What we know now

Marthinus Pelser who has been arrested in connection with the death of his six-month-old baby son, waits for court proceedings to start.

The smoke is far from settled regarding the tragic story involving Marthinus Pelser and the death of his six-month-old baby, Deon.

It all started when a missing person’s report was circulated on 11 June. Provincial Police spokesperson, Lieutenant Kay Makhubela, encouraged anyone who knew the whereabouts of Pelser, to encourage him to come forward to the police, to assist them in ascertaining what happened to the child.

Pelser’s baby was found in his cot with burn wounds and a fractured skull. Pelser is said to have left the home as soon as his wife arrived back from work and had not returned. He had fled in his wife’s copper-coloured Kia Picanto.

A disturbing picture was posted on Facebook by Pelser on 10 June, a day before his baby was found dead. The picture read, ‘Never push a man to violence, who has been waiting for an excuse to use it.’ This left the community riddled with doubt and many interpreted this as a presumptuous confession to the crime.

The post mortem was performed on 14 June. At this point, Honeydew Police and the community were frantically still searching for Pelser.

At around 1.55pm on 15 June an eyewitness, Nicoli Roscher, was driving home from work on Christiaan de Wet Road. Roscher spotted the copper Kia Picanto on the side of the road nearest to the Rooibok Street intersection. Roscher alerted Honeydew Police, who rushed to the scene.

The Kia Picanto was abandoned and the search began.

Roscher left the scene and stopped at the nearby Sasol for petrol. It was a stroke of luck that she decided to take the back road home and a moment later she spotted Pelser, who stood near some dustbins. “I guess I was at the right place at the right time. This case stuck with me because I have a three-year-old child and live in the area,” said Roscher.

Honeydew Police then arrested Pelser.

Pelser appeared at the Roodepoort Magistrates’ Court on 17 June after the intensive five-day-long search and arrest. Magistrate Veena Crishna explained to him that he had the right to legal representation. Pelser asked for legal assistance in the form of Legal Aid.

The state prosecutor explained to Magistrate Crishna that Pelser assaulted his son and then left in a vehicle.

Magistrate Chrisna was informed by the prosecutor that the state opposed bail as it was a Schedule Five offence.

Crishna explained to Pelser that due to the complex nature of a formal bail application he should seek legal advice.

Throughout Pelser’s brief appearance, he remained strangely calm and stared at the floor. It was also noted that friends and family of Pelser were not in attendance during proceedings.

Pelser’s next appearance will be on 22 June for the formal bail application at Roodepoort Magistrates’ Court.

Ashtyn Mackenzie

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