Written by Emma Freylink
We have covered all kinds of crimes here on The Casual Criminalist, ranging from odd and slightly bizarre, to the maniacal, bloodthirsty, and even horrific – so much so that it’s a wonder that Simon doesn’t suffer from constant nightmares.
But no other case or series of crimes that I’ve heard of – neither locally or abroad – comes close to the bizarre and often mind-boggling details of what would collectively become known as the Krugersdorp Murders. It is a baffling story about the Church of Satan and people who were desperately trying to escape a life in the occult, of sadistic witches and dark rituals, of vampires and werewolves, of the unwilling bride of Satan, and the group of people who tried to save her soul. It is also the story of how a narcissistic, psychopathic liar managed to convince a small group of people that she was indeed a witch, and that it was God’s plan that they had to commit murder for the sake of “the greater good”.
I’ve thought long and hard about how to go about explaining the details of this case. Most of the coverage of the court case as well as a local documentary series focused on the occult aspects of the case, referring to them as the Satanic or Cult murders. But after listening to local journalist Jana Marx’s book, The Krugersdorp Cult Killings, and doing my own research, I’ve decided to try to explain the real-world motivations of the group who called themselves God’s Chosen, because from both my research and the testimonies of the accused themselves, it’s clear that this is just another example of likeminded people finding each other, and making up their own reasons for why they did the things they did.
So, buckle up dear viewer. This story makes the Manson Family murders seem like child’s play.
The Road to Hell and Good Intentions
Krugersdorp is a satellite town that lies on the western edge of Johannesburg, South Africa, in an area that is commonly referred to as the West Rand. Historically, Krugersdorp’s main industry was gold mining, but these days its residents are mostly professionals who work in the nearby cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria.
In the early 2000’s, satanism and the occult was a big talking point in the religious community. Where you might have attended talks on the dangers of drugs and practicing safe sex, I remember police officers coming to our schools to warn us about the dangers of the occult, what to look out for, and the importance of avoiding anything that had to do with the occult or Satanism itself. That included certain rock and metal bands, horror movies, pc games, and even children’s books like the Harry Potter series.
As with most taboo things in life, the idea of the occult fascinated a lot of people, and in 2006 a woman called Ria Grunewald (like MaRIA Grune ah Wald) came to believe that it was her purpose in life to gather an army on behalf of God, so that she would be able to fight satanism wherever she could find it. Ria would eventually establish a ministry called Overcomers Through Christ, and told the people who attended her bible study groups that it is the duty of Christians to act as God’s army on earth, and that we can’t allow ourselves to remain ignorant to the dangers the occult posed. She trained to become a trauma councillor in order to help the survivors of satanic ritual abuse, and became known as an authority on helping people escape the occult.
And that is how Ria met Cecilia Steyn (like stain), a self-proclaimed 42nd generation witch who claimed to have been chosen as a bride of Satan, and who needed Ria’s help in order to escape the evil witches who were hunting her.
Finally, here was someone who confirmed everything that Ria believed to be true about the Church of Satan, and soon Ria fell under Cecilia’s spell. She believed everything that Cecilia told her about the Church of Satan and how they worked against Christianity, and together the two women presented a workshop called “Know your Enemy”, presenting Cecilia’s lies as fact and gaining a following of devout Christians who religiously attended the Know your Enemy courses, found themselves fascinated by the existence of an actual, honest to goodness satanic witch, and who believed that with Cecilia’s help, they could make a difference in the war against evil.
Cecilia told Ria that her life was constantly in danger and that her health suffered because of it. She would make up elaborate stories about protective spells and death curses and people listening in on their conversations through astral projection. The gullible Ria was constantly at her side in order to help keep her safe; praying for her, caring for her, bringing her food and clothing, and supporting her financially. Cecilia claimed that she was unable to keep a job due to her ill health and inability to leave the immediate area around her apartment building due to the protective spells that had been cast around her. On days when Ria was unable to care for Cecilia, members from Overcomers Through Christ would offer to babysit her, and by 2012, the 30-year-old Cecilia had built her own little cult inside of Ria’s ministry.
These members included Candice Rijavec (Ray – yah – Veck), a small-business owner; Zak (Zack) Valentine, a successful financial broker and his wife, Mikaela (Michaela) who worked as a travel agent while studying to become a pastor herself. The most dedicated member of their group, however, was Marinda Steyn, a divorced yet beloved high school teacher who would often bring her daughter Marcel and her son, Le Roux, along when she was visiting Cecilia. The fact that they have a similar surname isn’t relevant since they aren’t related.
Cecilia’s little cult would form the basis of the group who would later become known as Electus per Deus, and who would be held responsible for the gruesome murders of 11 people.
The Wicked Witch of the West Rand
Members of Overcomers through Christ would meet at Cecilia’s apartment on so-called “high-nights” – nights when she claimed she would be more susceptible to the curses that the evil witches were casting against her. The group would listen to gospel songs and bear witness as Cecilia suffered fits that caused her eyes to roll back in her head and had blood pouring from her mouth. The fits would end with her crying and begging for death, all while the group chanted prayers around her and quoted bible verses at her. Later, Candice would testify that Cecilia would make little bags of fake blood that she would surreptitiously place in her mouth before faking a fit, biting on it in order to make her fits seem more gruesome. Her displays became more dramatic as more members joined their little prayer circle, and Cecilia’s claims to fame became more elaborate as well.
Cecilia claimed that apart from being a very powerful witch, she was also a vampire, a werewolf, and had the ability to read minds and astral project. She also claimed to have Dissociative Personality Disorder, and that she had over 1000 personalities living within her. She claimed that one of her personalities, a four-year-old girl named Anja, was the main target of the evil witches’ attacks, since she represented everything that was good and pure about Cecilia, and would use Anja to endear herself to the people around her. Whenever she met someone new, however, Cecilia would always aim to establish herself as more intelligent or prestigious than her new acquaintance. In other words, if you were a teacher, she used to be a professor. If you were a doctor, she was a surgeon, and if you were a lawyer, she was a god.
I might be exaggerating a little bit about the god part, but it fits Cecilia’s overall impression of herself.
Cecilia also told the members of Overcomers through Christ about a secret orphanage that was full of children whose families had tried to escape the Church of Satan. The orphanage was hidden in a forest in the United States, and only a handful of people knew about it. With her ability to astral project, of course, Cecilia had found out where this orphanage was, and she told the members of Overcomers through Christ that they needed to donate money in order to ensure the safety and well-being of the children living there. All of these donations, of course, had to be made directly into Cecilia’s bank account, and she would then ensure that it reached the orphanage on their behalf.
It’s unclear how many members of Overcomers through Christ believed her story, but it later became known that Zak and Mikaela would give her more than R100 000 every month. To put it into perspective, that’s the annual salary for an entry-level job in South Africa. Marinda, on her more modest teacher’s salary of just R25 000 a month, could offer a lot less, but she still paid Cecilia what she could. Candice also donated large amounts of money and crippled herself financially in an effort to please the demanding Cecilia, leading to the loss of her business. And all the while, Ria was still supporting Cecilia financially, paying for whatever expensive medical treatments she claimed to need.
The members of Overcomers through Christ who were now a part of Cecilia’s inner circle would bask in Cecilia’s love and attention, and soon they were immensely loyal to her. In Candice’s own words:
“While we did whatever Cecilia wanted, we were given that fulfilment of having somebody in our lives, somebody special, somebody that we could help…Everything you craved, you got. And then you’d do one, tiny little thing wrong…The rug, actually, the whole world is pulled from underneath you, and you were made out to be the scum of the planet. She knew each person in her group so well. She knew how to break each of us perfectly.”
People from outside the group had noticed the change that was taking place in the members of Overcomers through Christ that were the closest to Cecilia. Mikaela Valentine’s mother, Ilse van Dijk (dyke), would later testify that her daughter and son-in-law got sucked into Cecilia’s world, and that the change in their personalities were obvious to anyone around them. It was as if they’d lost the ability to reason for themselves, and everything in their lives started to revolve around Cecilia.
Electus per Deus
A mentor of Ria’s, Pastor Reginald Bendixen, finally managed to convince Ria that her workshop, “Know your Enemy”, was too focused on Satanism. Together, they worked on a new workshop, “Know your Saviour”, in order to make God the centre of her ministry again.
Of course, this made Cecilia’s experience with the occult obsolete. Where she once was the centre of attention at these “Know your Enemy” talks and workshops, she was now pushed aside and had to listen as Ria praised the disciples of the Bible for their loyalty and commitment to God. She was no longer required to help present these workshops, and realised that she was no longer at the centre of Ria’s universe.
This led to Ria and Cecilia having a fallout, and Ria stopped taking care of Cecilia, focusing all her attention on her new workshop instead. Cecilia would tell the members of Overcomers through Christ who had stayed behind to continue taking care of her that Ria had left the path that God had chosen for her, that it would end badly for all of them, and that Ria’s actions would lead to more deaths at the hands of the Church of Satan.
Candice, who at this point was dating Cecilia, understood Ria’s motivation for changing the focus of her course, and it opened her eyes to the lies that Cecilia was spewing about Ria. Candice ended up leaving Cecilia, needing to distance herself from Cecilia and her inner circle.
This enraged Cecilia even more, and she came up with more and more elaborate lies to force Ria back to her side. Ria didn’t fall for it this time, completely distancing herself from Cecilia, and Cecilia started to work against Ria by turning her inner circle against her and forming her own ministry, calling it Electus per Deus, which is Latin for “Chosen by God”.
The five remaining members of Cecilia’s inner circle had the words Electus per Deus tattooed on their bodies, and they now committed themselves to Cecilia and the mission that God had provided her with – to end the false ministry that was Overcomers through Christ.
The Revenge Murders
After distancing herself from Cecilia and the members of Electus per Deus, Ria continued to host bible studies at her apartment that was only a few blocks away from the apartment building where both Cecilia and the Steyn family lived. On one of these nights, the members of Overcomers through Christ heard terrified screams outside of Ria’s apartment and found Cecilia lying in the middle of the road, bleeding from a fake stab wound. Not long after, Ria started receiving threatening text messages that claimed that the attack on Cecilia was her fault, and that the Church of Satan was closing in on Cecilia and would kill her now that Ria wasn’t protecting her anymore. Ria, now paranoid, started hosting her bible study nights in secret, but during one of these sessions, petrol bombs exploded in the parking lot. When the members of Overcomers through Christ eventually made their way outside in order to determine what was going on, they found that their tyres had been slashed. Soon after, a church that was run by one of the members of Overcomers through Christ was torched, and Ria started to withdraw herself from life, hiding from the evil witches that she was now sure was hunting her as well.
This campaign of terror hadn’t had the desired effect, and Cecilia became more determined to take revenge on Ria. She decided to target those closest to Ria, and set her sights on the 33-year-old Natacha (Natasha) Burger. Natacha was one of the more dedicated members of Overcomers through Christ, a close friend of Ria’s, and had assisted Ria when she’d compiled both the “Know your Enemy” and “Know your Saviour” manuals.
Cecilia found out that Natacha had written a prayer called “The Dangerous Prayer” that was aimed at praying for the children living at the fictious orphanage that Cecilia was supposedly supporting financially. This prayer was read at one of Ria’s workshops, and Cecilia convinced the members of Electus per Deus that the prayer had resulted in the deaths of 170 children living in this orphanage. Because of this, Natacha was obviously an agent of evil, and Cecilia would quote verses from the bible in order to convince the others that in times of war, death was necessary, and if they were to stop Ria’s false ministry, Natacha had to die.
And this is where I became convinced that the members of Electus per Deus were willing participants in everything that followed. You can claim manipulation up to a point, but as you’ll soon see, any reasonable person reaches a point where they tell themselves “okay, this has gone far enough”.
Marcel Steyn, who was only 14 years old at this point, would later testify in court that her mother and Zak had planned exactly how they were going to go about murdering Natacha. Marinda, Marcel, Zak and Mikaela drove to Pretoria, making their way to Natacha’s apartment. Marcel was sent to go and knock on Natacha’s door, and had to spray pepper spray in Natacha’s face once she was let inside, giving Marinda and Zak the opportunity to disable Natacha and kill her.
Marcel recounted that they’d all agreed that they could turn around at any point and abandon their plan. On the way to Pretoria, Mikaela was telling her husband that they shouldn’t be doing this, that what they were doing was wrong, but Zak kept on driving. Once they reached the apartment complex where Natacha lived, Marcel knocked on Natacha’s door, and claimed that her cat was inside.
Now, my theory is that Natacha, having been a member of Overcomers through Christ for years, recognised Marcel and realised who she was. Natacha was also aware of the threats that had been made against Ria, and Natacha, like most of the remaining members of Overcomers through Christ, had suspected that Cecilia was behind all of the attacks that had been made against members of their group.
So, wisely, Natacha refused to open the security gate that would have allowed Marcel to enter her apartment, and calmly told her that she hadn’t seen a cat, closing the door in Marcel’s face. Marcel then returned to where the others were waiting, reported that Natacha was too cautious, and that their plan wasn’t going to work.
On the 26th of July 2012, Zak and Mikaela returned to the apartment complex where Natacha lived. Instead of going to Natacha’s apartment, they knocked on her neighbour’s door. The 63-year-old Joy Boonzaaier (Bonzai-er) opened her door to find the charming, smiling couple outside. Mikaela explained that they were friends of Natacha, and that they were surprising her for her birthday. Since Natacha wasn’t home yet, would it be possible for them to wait inside of Joy’s flat until she returned?
Joy agreed, and as soon as they were inside her apartment, Zak turned on the older lady and threatened her with a knife. They had her write a note to Natacha, asking her to come over the moment she got home, and Mikaela dropped the note off at Natacha’s front door.
Zak took Joy to her bedroom and slit her throat, leaving her for dead on the carpeted floor. He then placed her yapping dog into a cupboard and closed it inside, pulling the bedroom door closed behind him.
Mikaela and Zak waited for Natacha in the small sitting room. Due to Mikaela’s earlier reluctancy to murder Natacha, Cecilia had ordered that Mikaela had to prove her dedication and loyalty to Electus per Deus by being the one to murder Natacha. But from where they sat in the lounge, Mikaela could hear Joy’s death gurgles in the bedroom, and she was becoming more and more insistent that what they were doing was wrong. Zak calmed her, and when Natacha finally showed up, the pair was waiting for her.
As soon as Natacha stepped through the door and recognised the couple, she started fighting back. Mikaela ran back to the car, panicked and crying, and Zak eventually overpowered Natacha and stabbed her to death multiple times, riddling her chest with stab wounds. He then placed his knife in a plastic bag, closed the front door, and headed back to the car. The note that Joy had written was still clutched in Natacha’s hand when a neighbour found her.
The newspapers reported that elements of the occult were involved in the murders, since copies of both the “Know your Enemy” and “Know your Saviour” manuals was found in Natacha’s apartment. The police questioned members of Overcomers through Christ regarding the possibility that Natacha was involved in a cult, and more than one person pointed a finger at Cecilia Steyn. However, no arrests were made.
Almost a month after the murders of Natacha and Joy, Ria received a text message that read:
“Hi Ria, have you said goodbye to Reg? I hope you have.”
Ria’s mentor, Reginal Bendixen, was next on Cecilia’s list. He’d always tried to convince Ria to abandon Cecilia, and it wasn’t difficult to convince the others that he was the cause of Ria’s abandonment of her true mission in life.
Zak was now a favourite of Cecilia’s, but she didn’t trust Mikaela. Marinda, wanting to curry favour with Cecilia, offered to murder Reg herself, and even offered to take Marcel along once more so that she could learn how it’s done.
On the 13th of August 2012, Zak and Marinda were both dressed as police officers when they picked Marcel up from school, and then made their way to Reg’s house. He opened the front door and met Marinda outside, and she explained that they were investigating Natacha and Joy’s deaths, and had a few questions for him. Marcel stood a little ways behind her mother, and she watched as Zak walked up behind Reg and hit him over the head with an axe. The 14-year-old girl then had to stand and watch as her mother fell on her knees next to Reg’s body and started stabbing him with a knife, over and over and over. Zak kept on attacking Reg with his axe, and soon both of them were covered in blood while a terrified Marcel watched as her mother stabbed Reg once more through his throat to ensure that he was dead.
The group returned to Cecilia’s flat and reported to her that Reg was now dead as well, and soon the news spread that the murders of Natacha and Reg was connected. Members of Overcomers through Christ were interrogated by police, and once again all fingers were pointed towards Cecilia. The detective on the case, Detective Johan van Wyk (wake), approached Ria in order to gain more information on Cecilia. She confided in him about the terror attacks that had been committed against members of her ministry, and about the text messages that she’d been receiving. She also called him when a package arrived at her front door containing a piece of meat and a letter that read:
“Sorry, this is all the doggies left you. Here is a piece of your precious Reggie.”
The police obtained a warrant to search the properties that belonged to Ria, Cecilia, and Marinda. The ingredients for petrol bombs, pipe bombs, and various weapons, knives and electronics were confiscated along with photos of the members of Electus per Deus in which they were dressed up as vampires, but none of the weapons found could be linked to any of the murders. Detective van Wyk concluded that the older members of Electus per Deus could all be suspects in the murders of Natacha, Joy and Reg, and after talking to Mikaela’s parents, their focus turned to Mikaela and her husband, Zak Valentine.
Mikaela had been spiralling emotionally, and she’d called her mother soon after Reg’s death and asked her whether she could help her find a lawyer. She confided in her mother that she wanted to leave Electus per Deus. Zak told Marinda that Mikaela was becoming a liability, and when she told Cecilia about it, the group’s focus turned to her.
Detective van Wyk had just applied for a search warrant for the Valentine’s home when a murder was reported at a familiar address, and his heart sank.
On the 4th of October 2012, Zak got up and made his wife a cup of coffee before leaving for work. He watched as she drank it, kissed her goodbye, and then left the house. He met with Marinda and handed her a set of keys to their house. Marinda and Marcel then headed to the home that Mikaela shared with her husband, entered through the garage, and headed straight for the main bedroom. Since she had been drugged, Mikaela was still in bed, and Miranda walked over to her, lifted a hammer, and repeatedly hit Mikaela on the forehead to keep her from waking up before she started stabbing her repeatedly with a knife.
Once again, the 14-year-old Marcel had to watch as her mother killed a person, only this time it was someone she knew and loved. Mikaela had been like an older sister to Marcel, had taught her to cook and bake, and they had even had a few sleepovers. So when Marinda turned to her daughter and ordered her to stab Mikaela in order to prove her loyalty to the group, Marcel couldn’t handle stabbing Mikaela more than once, claiming that the knife she’d been given wasn’t sharp enough.
The murder of Mikaela Valentine only cemented Marcel’s belief that if she ever turned her back on Electus per Deus, or tried to tell anyone about what she’d witnessed, she would be murdered as well.
Murder for a Good Cause
After Mikaela ‘s death, the investigation into what the media had dubbed “The Satanic Murders” had run cold. No new information was brought forward, none of the murder weapons had been found, and the police could not get solid enough evidence in order to arrest any of the members of Electus per Deus. Not only that, but the order came to remove Detective van Wyk from the case, and he still hasn’t been told why.
Ria and a few members of Overcomers through Christ had gone into hiding after an attempt on Ria’s son’s life had been made, and she was now out of Cecilia’s reach.
Years passed, and by November 2015 Cecilia was running out of money. She had spent the money the members of Electus per Deus was giving her on bribes, burner phones, ammunition, weapons, and luxury items like alcohol, expensive clothing, quad bikes, lavish parties, and drugs. The money Zak had received from Mikeala’s life insurance had also run out since most of it had already been handed over to Cecilia. He had started his own financial services company, but was now struggling to make the same amount of money he’d been used to, and he could no longer support Cecilia’s lavish lifestyle either.
Cecilia needed a new source of income. Electus per Deus had befriended a drug addict called John Barnard, and had pulled him into their group even though he wasn’t an official member of Electus per Deus. He was easily manipulated and didn’t take a lot of convincing when Cecilia proposed that they kill someone in order to get their hands on more money. John even had a possible target in mind already – his employers, Peter and Joan Meyer.
The Meyers owned a successful printing business that they’d built up from the ground, and the rumours at work was that they kept tons of cash on hand in their R15 million home in Noordheuwel (Nord Heave Hull), one of Krugersdorp’s more wealthier suburbs. The Meyers had recently purchased a large piece of property on the Kwa-Zulu Natal coast that they were planning on converting into a water park, and were reportedly struggling with the bureaucratic tape surrounding a venture like that. Marinda and Zak contacted the Meyers posing as government officials, and arranged to meet them at their house on the 27th of November 2015 in order to discuss their plans for the water park. Peter Meyer was wary of meeting them alone, and asked one of his friends to sit in on the meeting. Unfortunately, his friend notified him that he was running late, and Peter and Joan resolved to meet with Marinda and Zak alone.
Once they were inside the house, they used a gun to overpower the couple and tied them up with cable ties. A search of the house didn’t reveal the tons of cash that John had promised them, and after beating the couple a few times, Zak finally believed the couple when they told them that they would be stupid to keep cash in the house since they knew that it would make them the target of armed robberies.
Zak then stabbed the couple to death in his trademark frenzy, and he and Marinda took the couple’s cell phones, the cable ties they’d used to tie them up, and the remote to the gate before fleeing the house. They dumped the knife and cable ties a few blocks from the Meyer’s house, and headed back to Cecilia’s flat to report on their failure.
The Meyer’s son and his girlfriend found his parents lying in pools of blood on the living room floor, and called the police. The family hired a private detective who managed to obtain copies of the security tapes from the CCTV cameras that lines almost every street corner in Noordheuwel, and managed to identify the cars that passed in the area on the night the Meyers were murdered before handing it over to the police. The police were then able to determine that one of these vehicles belonged to Zak Valentine.
The police called him in for questioning, and Zak admitted that he’d been in the area at the time. He told the police that both Marinda and Marcel had been in the car with him. Since the police were aware that the Meyers had a meeting scheduled with a couple on the night they were murdered, both Zak and Marinda admitted to having visited the Meyers’s house and meeting with them, but claimed that another couple had arrived at the Meyer’s house soon after, interrupting their meeting and resulting in them leaving the property. Of course, this unlikely store only placed them on the top of the suspect list, and once again they were told to report to the police in order to undergo a polygraph test.
Zak told Cecilia that he wasn’t willing to submit himself to a polygraph test, so the group came up with another plan that would not only keep Zak from having to be questioned by the police, but would supply them with R3.5 million rand as well. Simply put, Zak had to die, but in order for them to claim his life insurance, they would need a body to pass off as his.
On the 16th of December 2015, two days before Zak had to report to the police station, he and Marinda’s son, the now 20-year-old Le Roux, approached a local street vendor and recovering addict, Jarod Jackson, and invited him on a fishing trip. Electus per Deus had recently befriended Jarod and his pregnant fiancée, and would often buy out all his stock in order to enable the couple to pay for their stay in a local homeless shelter.
Jarod agreed and got into Zak’s silver Mercedes, sitting in the front seat next to Zak, with Le Roux behind him. Le Roux handed a spiked drink over to Jarod, and as soon as he became lethargic and unresponsive, Le Roux reached over the head rest with a nylon rope and strangled Jarod. They drove almost 200km towards a small farming community called Petrus Steyn, and stopped Zak’s car on the side of the road a few kilometres outside of town. There, Marinda and John joined them, and together they moved Jarod’s body into the passenger seat. They then pushed the Mercedes off of the road until it hit a fence, poured paraffin over the car and lit it on fire. The four of them then got into Marinda’s car, drove towards Petrus Steyn for five minutes, and then turned around and headed back towards Krugersdorp, passing the burning car.
The police officers in Petrus Steyn traced the burnt-out wreck to Zak Valentine, and Marinda showed up in Petrus Steyn, posing as Zak’s older sister. She identified the body as belonging to Zak, and pressured the doctor that had performed the autopsy on Jarod’s remains into signing Zak’s death certificate before heading back to Krugersdorp. On the 18th of December 2015, Le Roux called the insurance agency that had Zak’s life policy, and started the process of claiming his life insurance on behalf of Cecilia, who was listed as his only beneficiary.
Shane Chatzkelowitz (your guess is as good as mine) is the Life Insurance Forensic Specialist that was assigned to verify the early death claim that Cecilia and Le Roux had made against Zak’s life insurance. Zak’s life insurance premiums had been in arrears, and had been settled in cash a week before he was reported as having passed away, marking it as suspicious. The more Shane read about Zak’s supposed death, the more suspicious he became regarding the circumstances of Zak’s death. Shane became even more suspicious when he found out that Zak’s wife, Mikaela, had been murdered only a few years earlier. Shane then advised that the insurance policy should not be paid out.
Cecilia would call the insurance agency every day to enquire after their claim, and eventually, Shane agreed to meet with her on the 4th of May 2016. Their entire meeting was recorded as per company policy, and Shane made note of Cecilia’s anxious and almost defensive posture. She spends the entire interview sitting on the edge of her seat, her arms crossed, and she would ramble on whenever he asked her a question relating to Zak’s accident. In the background, Le Roux can be seen pacing the hallway. When asked about Cecilia’s relationship with Zak, Cecilia claimed that she’d been Zak’s beneficiary even before he’d been married to his wife, Mikaela, who’d passed away. Shane questioned Cecilia regarding the details surrounding Mikaela’s death, informing her that he knew that Mikaela had been murdered, and Cecilia fabricated a bunch of information surrounding the supposed home invasion, and made Shane even more suspicious of her motivation in claiming Zak’s life insurance.
Cecilia wasn’t playing the part of a grieving, lifelong friend, and had no idea where Zak’s house was located, having never visited. She also made sure to explain the inconveniences Zak’s death had caused her, and complained that her health already wasn’t what it should be, referring to her supposed dependency on an oxygen tank.
Her oh-woe-is-me routine was meant to portray her as weak and incapable of harming Zak in any way, but Shane saw right through Cecilia’s act. After meeting with Cecilia and Le Roux, Shane asked that a blood typing test should be done on the remains that had been identified as Zak. When the results didn’t match with what they had on file for Zak, Shane approached the police to let them know that he believed that Zak Valentine was still alive.
The Appointment Murders
The group had made a big mistake in faking Zak’s death. Not only were more and more evidence building against the group as a whole, but Zak had been Cecilia’s main source of income, and now he was unable to line her pockets anymore since a dead man couldn’t be employed. Now it fell to Marinda to not only support her own kids, but to support both Cecilia and Zak as well. Zak had used an altered ID that used to belong to a roommate of his to rent a furnished room, but the cost of keeping a roof over his head turned out to be more than Marinda could afford on her teacher’s salary – and now Zak was threatening to go to the police.
They needed money urgently, and in January 2016 they devised a new scheme that would later become known as the Appointment Murders. They identified professionals who – according to Zak – were almost guaranteed to have ample amounts of money on hand since he either knew them personally, had managed their finances, or had worked with them at one point or another.
On the 27th of January 2016, Marinda, John, Le Roux and Marcel visited the home of a Private Tax Practitioner called Glen McGregor. They had made an appointment with him under the premise that he would assist Marinda with her taxes, and Marinda and her children knocked on the door while John waited some distance away. Glen greeted them and invited them inside, and after the door closed behind them, Marinda pulled out a gun and told Glen that they were there to rob him. According to Marinda’s testimony in court, Glen didn’t believe her, going so far as to laugh at her, and Le Roux stepped up to Glen in an effort to subdue him. Glen then lunged for the younger man, and Marinda shot him twice in the lower back.
Marinda ordered Marcel and Le Roux to tie the injured Glen up. Together, the three of them searched Glen’s house for cash or bank cards, but weren’t able to find any. Marinda then took Glen’s phone and asked him for his bank pin. Eventually, he provided her with the correct ones, and Marinda was able to access his bank account. Glen only had R6000 in his account and Marinda transferred the money into her own account through immediate transfer.
I can already hear Simon calling her an idiot – but what up to this point gave you the impression that they were master criminals? Even Marinda herself admitted that it had been a stupid idea, but at the time she didn’t know how else to ensure that they would be able to access the money, and they needed it urgently.
Glen was still alive, so Le Roux offered to strangle him. Once Glen stopped breathing, Le Roux and Marcel dragged his body into the bathroom, and Marcel opened the hot water tap. They placed Glen’s body into the bathtub, and once the bathtub had been filled with hot water, they turned off the taps, wiped down any finger prints that they might have left behind, and left the house.
The money they’d managed to get a hold of didn’t last long, and was only enough to keep a roof over Zak’s head for another two months. By the end of April 2016, Zak was forced to leave the cheap hotel that he’d been staying at, and was now staying in homeless shelters all over Krugersdorp.
Then, in May 2016, the group targeted the 67-year-old Anthony Schofield, an Insurance Broker that Zak had once worked with when he was still working as a financial advisor. Le Roux called Anthony’s office and arranged to meet him at a nearby shopping mall on the 10th of May 2016, at 6pm that evening. Once Anthony notified Le Roux that he was on his way, Le Roux called him and asked him to meet him at his apartment instead. Anthony agreed, and he drove over to the apartment where the Steyn family lived.
Le Roux greeted Anthony at his car after indicating that he should park in front of their apartment building, and led him up to the apartment where Marinda and Marcel was waiting. Once he was inside, Marinda pulled a gun on him, and like she’d done with Glen McGregor, informed Anthony that this was a robbery. They tied him to a chair, confiscated his wallet and cards, and demanded that he should give them his pin if he wanted to live. After they tortured him, resulting in blood pooling on the carpet beneath him, Anthony finally revealed his pin to them. Marcel was then sent to the nearest ATM, and was ordered to call Marinda and confirm that the pin Anthony had provided them with was the correct one. Marcel managed to withdraw an amount of R16 600 from his account, and when she called her mother to confirm that she had the cash in hand, Le Roux strangled him.
They covered his body in refuse bags, placed him in a dustbin that they then wheeled down to the parking area, and placed him in the trunk of his car. They then drove his car a few blocks away and abandoned it in front of a primary school where it was later found by the neighbourhood watch. The next day, Le Roux would attempt another withdrawal from Anthony’s account, but his cards had already been blocked.
On the 26th of May, another Insurance Broker, 29-year-old Kevin McAlpine, had an appointment with Marinda, and again he was lured to their apartment. This time, they only managed to withdraw R1 300 from his account, and just like Anthony Schofield, Kevin was strangled and would later be found in the trunk of his car, his body wrapped up in refuse bags.
Panic began to spread throughout Krugersdorp once Kevin’s body was found. Rumours ran amok regarding a possible serial killer that was targeting Insurance Agents working in Krugersdorp, and a lot of professionals who would meet with their clients outside of an office started to take measures in order to keep themselves safe.
One of these professionals was a 52-year-old estate agent called Hanlé (Han Lee) Lategan (Lah te gaan). On the 30th of May, just four days after Kevin McAlpine had been murdered, Hanlé was scheduled to meet Marinda at her apartment building that was located across the street from the Krugersdorp Private Hospital. Unlike the other victims, Hanlé parked in full view of the CCTV cameras, and notified her husband when she arrived at the hospital just after 6pm. She waited for almost 10 minutes before Marinda met her at her vehicle in the hospital’s parking lot. Marinda took Hanlé up to their apartment, and just like she’d done with Anthony Schofield and Kevin McAlpine, threatened Hanlé with a gun and demanded that she give them her pin codes.
And in the middle of this crisis, Hanlé became my hero. Realizing that these were the people who were responsible for murdering both Anthony and Kevin, Hanlé did what she could to buy herself more time, aware of the fact that if she didn’t check in with her husband by 7pm as discussed, he would start looking for her. She told Marinda that she never kept large amounts of money on her bank cards and that she would have to make a transfer first. They handed Hanlé her cellphone and Hanlé was able to access her bank accounts, transferring money from a savings account that she and her husband never used. As soon as the transaction was finalized, Hanlé’s husband received the message that R3000 had been withdrawn from their savings account, and he immediately knew that she was in danger.
Marcel headed to the nearest ATM to withdraw the money, but the pin that Hanlé had provided was wrong, buying Hanlé more time while her husband and son launched a search for her. After several failed attempts to access her bank account, and with warning messages flooding Hanlé’s husband’s phone, Marinda lost patience with Hanlé and assaulted her. Hanlé eventually provided them with the correct pin for her bank cards, not knowing that her son was in the parking lot below, inspecting her car and trying to determine where she’d gone. Once Marcel informed her mother that she’d managed to withdraw the money, Le Roux strangled Hanlé as well.
However, by this time the hospital parking lot was swarming with people, and Marcel told her mother that the police had cordoned off a section of the street, looking for any sign of where Hanlé had gone. Now they had a body on their hands, and no means of disposing of it. The members of Electus per Deus stood and watched as Hanlé’s son gave the police permission to break one of the car windows, giving them access to the vehicle. They determined that Hanlé’s body hadn’t been placed in the back of the car, and CCTV footage from the hospital parking lot only showed that she’d left the parking lot with a dark-haired woman.
They all convened in Cecilia’s bedroom and Cecilia ordered Le Roux to dump Hanlé’s body as soon as the police left the scene.
By 11pm, the police decided that nothing could be done since they had no leads, and they left the scene, taking Hanlé’s car with them. Le Roux and John then loaded Hanlé’s body into the trunk of Marinda’s car and dumped her in an empty field outside of town where it was found by school children the next day.
Following Hanlé’s death, the residents of Krugersdorp initiated an unofficial curfew of 6pm, trying to keep their loved ones safe from the vicious serial killer that was stalking their streets.
The Beginning of the End
By now, Simon must be going out of his mind, constantly berating the police for not doing their jobs. As in many of the cases that we feature on the Casual Criminalist, I can completely agree with Simon that the police had so far failed every single person that had fallen victim to Electus per Deus. From the very first murder, multiple people had pointed a finger at Cecilia Steyn and her followers, but so far, nothing had been done to bring them to justice.
But, not to worry. This is the part of the story where the A-Team is called in to assist with the investigation into the deaths of Anthony, Kevin, and Hanlé.
A task force known as the War Room arrived in Krugersdorp and took over the investigation. Members of the War Room came from different disciplines within the police, and was led by Brigadier Victor, the provincial head of the Crime Intelligence Unit within the South African Police force.
They spent hours poring over the case files relating to each murder, and that is how Brigadier Victor became aware of Captain Ben Booysen (boy sin), an experienced and well-respected Investigating Officer within the South African Police. He’d built a reputation of being relentless when it came to the cases he was investigating, and Captain Booysen was chosen to take the lead on the investigation.
The War Room had obtained copies of the CCTV footage from the ATM’s where the victims’ cards had been used, and sent out photos of the two teenagers who’d withdrawn the cash from the victims’ bank accounts, asking the public for help in identifying them. Soon an informant came forward and identified the teenagers who’d withdrawn the cash as the 20-year-old Le Roux, and the 18-year-old Marcel Steyn.
Both teenagers were brought in for questioning, and their photographs were taken. Facial Image Analysis Reports were run against photos taken by the police, and was compared to the CCTV footage obtained from the ATMs. The reports confirmed that it was indeed Le Roux and Marcel in those images.
Finally, the police had concrete evidence that linked two members of Electus per Deus to the Appointment Murders, and both Le Roux and Marcel were arrested barely three weeks into the investigation, appearing in court on the 27th of June 2016 after reportedly spending the weekend behind bars. During her interrogation, Marcel claimed that Le Roux had obtained the bank cards from a group of Nigerians, and that she suspected that they had murdered Anthony, Kevin and Hanlé. However, Le Roux made a full confession, stating that he’d strangled each one of the victims, but claimed that he’d worked alone, taking responsibility for everything.
Captain Booysen saw through Le Roux’s confession, and turned all his attention on finding out who Le Roux was protecting. The War Room looked into cases that were similar to the Appointment Murders, and came across the case of the Meyers murder, the couple who had been murdered inside their Noordheuwel home back in November 2015.
The detective on the case had noted that Marinda had made an appointment to meet with the Meyers on the night they were murdered, and the War Room jumped on this detail. Not only did it match the modus operandi used in the Appointment Murders, but it linked Marinda to her two children, and gave the War Room another suspect to focus on.
In a surprising twist of events, one of Captain Booysen’s informants gave him a call and told him that he should obtain a warrant for Marinda Steyn’s classroom. She was a well-liked and respected teacher at one of the local high schools, and the principal was reluctant to give the police access to Marinda’s classroom. Initially, her classroom didn’t turn up any obvious evidence, but it contained two ovens. Since Marinda didn’t teach Hospitality Studies, this was unusual, so Detective Booysen opened the ovens and came across bags filled with ammunition.
When the principal was confronted with this evidence of Marinda’s possible involvement in the Appointment Murders, he promised the police his full cooperation. His wife, who was also a teacher at the school, approached Captain Booysen and informed him that Marinda had recently changed her will. The school held a copy of it in trust for her, and it was turned over to the police.
The will had been drawn up soon after Le Roux and Marcel had been arrested, and in it Marinda disowned her children, making Cecilia Steyn her only beneficiary in the case of her death.
Finally, Captain Booysen had leverage that he could use against Le Roux. When Le Roux was confronted with the proof of his mother’s betrayal, Le Roux broke down, and it wasn’t long before he turned against Electus per Deus as a whole and began to sing like a canary.
The Crux in the Case
Le Roux turned state witness in the case against Electus per Deus, and over a period of a few days, he shocked Captain Booysen by not only revealing his mother’s role in the Appointment Murders, but he linked Electus per Deus to every one of the eleven murders that they had committed since July 2012, including their attempt at faking Zak’s death.
But what had happened to Zak, you might ask? Well, dear viewers, it’s a funny story.
Back in May 2016, Shane Chatzkelowitz, the Life Insurance Forensic Specialist that had been tasked with verifying the claim against Zak’s life insurance, had contacted the police and informed them of his suspicion that Zak was still alive. Notices went out to all the police officers and informants working in and around Krugersdorp to keep an eye out for him, and in an ironic twist of fate, a woman who regularly volunteered with her bible study group at a homeless outreach program, recognised Zak’s photograph when her boyfriend, a police officer, brought work home one weekend.
She identified the man in the photo as Michael de Villiers, and told her boyfriend that she’d met him at one of the outreach programs that their church hosted once a month. Members of the homeless community would be invited to go camping with volunteers from the church for an entire weekend, and Zak had drawn her attention immediately because he didn’t fit in with the rest of the crowd.
So when the next outreach was held, she took a series of photos of a shirtless Zak and sent it on to her boyfriend, enabling them to confirm that the tattoos on his back did indeed identify him as Zak Valentine. And so, on the last day of the outreach, a police convoy rocked up at the camping grounds, and Zak was finally arrested on suspicion of fraud – just three days after the arrest of Le Roux and Marcel.
Captain Booysen got a hold of the case file relating to Zak’s disappearance, and he was able to obtain an arrest warrant for Cecilia Steyn and Marinda Steyn under the suspicion of intention to commit fraud, since both of them were linked to the fraudulent claim in one way or another.
As a part of his confession, Le Roux had also pointed a finger at John Barnard, and when he was brought in for questioning and was confronted with Le Roux’s testimony, he didn’t hesitate to provide Captain Booysen with a full confession. His story matched with Le Roux’s, and now Captain Booysen had two witnesses who were willing to turn state’s evidence in return for a reduced sentence.
Finally, all the remaining members of Electus per Deus were in police custody, and Captain Booysen would spend the next two months building a solid case against them.
60 days in hell
The details surrounding the rest of the investigation is muddled and complicated, and I had just spent almost two hours trying to make sense of it all. Instead, I’m going to skip the whole investigation itself since we already know exactly what had happened, and I’m going to summarise the events that unfolded in court over a span of 60 days.
Le Roux Steyn and John Barnard both testified on behalf of the state, detailing every single crime that Electus per Deus had committed, as well as the motivations behind it. In a surprise twist, Marinda Steyn’s lawyer approached the state prosecutor and claimed that his client also wanted to plead guilty. When asked why she’d decided to confess to her role in the murders, Marinda said:
“I got a verse from God saying, ‘Confess, and you will be forgiven’…I could sit here through a whole trial and pretend (that) I never did any of these (crimes) and hope to get free from it, but that is not what God wants me to do.”
Throughout the three days that she provided testimony in court, she never implicated either Marcel or Cecilia in any of the murders, claiming that they’d been unaware of her involvement up and until she was arrested. You can watch her full testimony on YouTube, and whenever she is asked to explain how a specific crime was committed, she would pause for a moment as if thinking about how to explain away her daughter’s involvement in the crimes. Whenever she would be confronted with Le Roux’s version of events, she would scoff and call him a liar, claiming that he was jealous of his sister.
At the end of the first hearings in 2018, the 22-year-old Le Roux was found guilty of seven murders, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison, with ten years being suspended as a part of his plea deal.
John Barnard received 20 years in prison for his role in the deaths of Peter and Joan Meyer, Glen McGregor, and Jarod Johnson.
Marinda Steyn received 11 life sentences in total that are to be served concurrently, as well as a whopping 115 additional years in prison for related charges.
Marcel, Zak and Cecilia appeared in court in 2018 after spending two years in prison. Only Zak and Cecilia were questioned in court since Marcel could only be tied to the Appointment Murders, and they both denied involvement in the murders. The State Prosecutor, Advocate Roberts, had decided to approach the case against the remaining members of Electus per Deus as a racketeering case, treating Electus per Deus as a criminal organisation instead of a group of serial killers.
Since Cecilia was identified as the kingpin of the organisation, they didn’t have to prove that she was directly involved in any of the murders. Instead, they only had to prove that she benefitted from it. Her bank statements were riddled with deposits from the other members of Electus per Deus, and since she had never been employed for a day in her life, she wasn’t able to explain how she’d been able to live the lavish lifestyle that she’d enjoyed – if only for a short period.
If you were to watch her entire testimony on YouTube and take a shot every time she responded with “I don’t know” or “I can’t remember” to a question in her fake American accent, you would be wasted within the first hour.
And when the trial had run its course, something happened that neither the prosecutor, the defence, the court, or the members of Electus per Deus had seen coming – Marcel took to the stand.
Too Little, Too Late
Over the course of two days, 21-year-old Marcel sat in the witness stand and confessed to everything. In a calm, clear voice, she provided the court with detailed testimony regarding not only her role in the murders, but also that of Cecilia and Zak. In essence, she completely negated her mother’s efforts to conceal Marcel’s role in Electus per Deus, and only added to Le Roux’s already detailed testimony.
In the videos I’ve watched, you can see the anger and frustration on Zak and Cecilia’s faces as Marcel told her piece. Throughout the entire investigation, Marcel had outright refused to cooperate with the police, and now she was dropping one bombshell after another. Regarding Marinda’s testimony, Marcel explained that:
“My mother had the idea that if she said that we were not involved, that it would contribute to getting us off. But I really felt that Cecilia manipulated her to get her to that point.”
When asked why she had chosen to come forward now, Marcel explained that:
“Even though I didn’t agree with what we had done, and I felt that it was wrong, I kept on trying to convince myself that it must be right because Cecilia says it is. And if she is who she portrays herself to be, then she’s right and I’m listening to the Devil when I’m doubting her. So when I got to the point that I realised that she isn’t who she said she was, then I realised that what we had done was wrong. And…there’s no excuse for it. And I felt I had to…speak the truth and expose her so that she’ll never be able to do that again to anyone. To use and abuse people, and to…connive as she did toward people’s deaths.”
In her closing statement, a clearly emotional Marcel teared up, and in a broken voice said:
“I know that me testifying and telling the truth and admitting (to) what I had done and how sorry I am, doesn’t bring them back. And all I can say is I’m sorry, I’m very sorry.”
After her testimony, Marcel approached Captain Ben Booysen and told him that she couldn’t return to the same prison where Cecilia and her mother were kept because they had threatened to kill her for testifying against them. Her legal counsel brought in an urgent application requesting that Marcel should be moved to a different facility.
The judge presiding over the hearing, Judge Ellem Francis, accepted her request and recommended that Marcel should be moved to a different facility than the ones that housed Marinda and Cecilia Steyn.
In his final judgement, Judge Francis explained that,
“The role of this court is to dispense justice. Satanism, which is not a criminal offence in our country, is not on trial. But the evil deeds that were committed by the accused are heinous, barbaric, and cold-blooded crimes in terms of the laws of our country.”
“This is the worst case that I’ve presided over. Words fail to describe what I’d witnessed for the duration of the trial. There are 11 deceased who were brutally murdered in this matter and nothing less than the maximum penalty suffices.”
On the 3rd of June 2019, Zak Valentine was found guilty of all of the charges brought in against him, and was sentenced to 8 life sentences, as well as an additional 93 years for related charges.
Cecilia Steyn was found guilty of all of the charges brought in against her, and received 13 life sentences as well as an additional 155 years in prison.
And despite stepping forward and confessing, the court found that in July 2012, 14-year-old Marcel could already be held legally responsible for her role in the Satanic murders. Despite her age, she played an active role in planning the murders, and also had the words “Electus per Deus” tattooed on her body. As a result, Marcel Steyn was found guilty on all of the charges that had been brought in against her, and received 7 life sentences, as well as an additional 144 years in prison.
Victims of an Unholy War
When the murders was taking place, I had just moved to Pretoria and would often travel to Krugersdorp for work. I remember being aware that bodies had been found in abandoned cars, but even so, the Krugersdorp Murders was nothing more than a faint bleep on my radar.
So once the 4-part documentary on it aired on a local streaming service last year, my husband and I binge-watched it over a course of three days. And as I watched Marcel stand up in court and listened to her testimony, I couldn’t help but cry at the fate that had befallen her and Le Roux.
Imagine growing up believing that monsters were very, very real. Imagine being eight or ten years old and witnessing the proof of their existence in the form of a scary, occult-obsessed woman who regularly suffered fits that would result in blood spurting out of her mouth. Imagine having to share a house with that woman, with her constantly reminding you that your favourite teddy was possessed by ghosts who would spy on you on her behalf. Imagine that the person responsible for keeping you safe not only forced you into these situations, but then dragged you along when she murdered someone you loved.
Imagine telling your mother that you don’t want to hurt the lady, and her threatening you at gun point, telling you that if you didn’t cooperate she would kill you herself. And then imagine growing up with the knowledge that even if you did run away, they would only find you again, drag you back, beat you bloody with a baseball bat, and tell you that no one would believe you anyway – because no one ever did.
Marinda Steyn was a horrible, sadistic person who enjoyed killing others. She was also a horrible, abusive mother who ruined her children’s lives the moment she dragged them into this mess, determined to teach them how to commit murders alongside her. And my heart breaks for the children that Marcel and Le Roux had once been, for the lives that they’d lost, and for the lives that they were now forced to live.
There is so many titbits that were left out of this script, but here are a few of the more notable ones:
- A man who is only referred to as Mr. X had come to know Cecilia Steyn and her group through a friend, and had somehow managed to endear himself to Cecilia. After the Satanic murders took place, he was determined to find evidence that would prove that the members of Electus per Deus had been involved in the murders. Cecilia herself had confided in him and confessed that Zak had been the one to commit the murders. Mr. X managed to record a conversation between the members of Electus per Deus when they were discussing the attempted murder of Ria Grunewald’s son, and would later go into hiding when he realised that his life was in danger as well. With the help of a friend they delivered the recording to the police, and managed to warn Ria Grunewald that her son was in danger, preventing his murder.
- During their investigation into Electus per Deus, Captain Ben Booysen realised that the case files relating to the Satanic Murders had gone missing. Several members of the Krugersdorp Police Force were implicated in their disappearance, and it became known that they had somehow befriended Cecilia Steyn and the other members of Electus per Deus. It explained why the investigation into the 2012 murders died an early death. An investigation into the conduct of these police officers is still under way.
- Cecilia Steyn was actually married to a police officer when all of this happened, and has two children of her own. She shared the apartment with her family, but no longer shared a bedroom with her husband, and the members of Electus per Deus were ordered to never speak of anything relating to religion in front of him or her children. Once her involvement in the murders became known, he filed for divorce. He was also a suspect in the disappearance of the case files, but all charges against him was dropped when his disdain for his estranged wife became apparent. He was also considered to be of too low a rank to have been able to assist Cecilia in concealing her crimes.
- There are at least two more cases where Cecilia Steyn was a suspect. One of them was a suspicious suicide of a teenage boy that could never be proven to be a homicide. The other involved a 13-year-old teenager called Morne (Mor nay) Harmse (Harm se) who showed up at school in August 2008 wearing a papier-mâché mask and a katana. He killed one other student and injured three others before he was caught. There was also speculation that he was interested in the occult. In both these cases, Cecilia Steyn was mentioned as being a mentor to these boys.
- Despite her horrible upbringing, Marcel Steyn was a top achiever in school, managing to obtain 8 distinctions at the end of her high school career. She had secretly applied to university without her mother’s knowledge, and had received her acceptance letter into medical school only a few days before Anthony Schofield was murdered.
- Some of you might have noticed that I never explained Cecilia’s past. She would tell everyone who would listen about the horrors she’d been subjected to growing up, that her mother was also a witch and that she’d been killed trying to protect Cecilia. In reality, she had a normal middle-class childhood and was raised by two normal, kind, down to earth people who are still alive to this day. Despite all of this, Cecilia idolised Charles Manson, and was expelled from school when she was 15 on suspicion that she was involved in the occult. To quote Simon – “Some people are just born monsters”.
- On a lighter note, one of the reporters who reported on the Appointment Murders and who would eventually interview Le Roux after his arrest, fell in love with him during the course of their friendship. Once her relationship with a convicted criminal came to light, she lost her job, her husband and family, and all of the respect she’d once held in her community. Despite all of this, they reported to be blissfully happy until they broke up during Lockdown. Apparently the Covid-19 restrictions that was implemented in the facility where Le Roux is serving his sentence were too strict, and the couple was unable to see each other for three months, bringing an end to their 3-year relationship.