Two young men were sentenced to long prison terms two years after the murder of Erna Gericke (66).
A large-scale search was launched for Gericke in March 2021 after she went for a walk on a Sunday afternoon in the area of Rondomskrik, near Barrydale, and then disappeared without a trace.
Gericke and her husband, Bremer, retired to Barrydale. Bremer Gericke was the pastor of the NG Church Stellenberg for many years.
Gericke was found in the early morning hours of March 22, a few kilometers from the parking lot on the Waterfall hiking trail after her husband reported her missing. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene.
Gericke’s vehicle was also no longer in the parking lot and it was later found abandoned in Tradouwshoek. Two suspects from a farm in the area were arrested shortly after each other in connection with the car theft.
At that stage, “no foul play” was suspected about Gericke’s death. However, the post-mortem investigation determined that Gericke had been shot in the hand with a heavy caliber rifle. Barrydale detectives expanded their investigation and found a .303 rifle believed to have been used to attack and shoot Gericke.
John Lee Bron (20) and Jacobus Simon Skondo (26) were both sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murder of Gericke. They were sentenced to additional prison terms for car theft and other charges.
Lt. Gen. Western Cape Police Commissioner Thembisile Patekile praised the investigating officers and prosecution team for their dedication which led to the arrest and subsequent conviction of the two men.
“We are satisfied with the sentences handed down in this case. We hope that this will serve as a deterrent to potential criminals to commit similar offences.”
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