THE main office was broken into at Hluleka Nature Reserve on the same night Underberg couple Karen and Matthew Turner were attacked in their cottage in the early hours of Tuesday.
This is according to Ian Crouch, Karen Turner’s brother, in Pietermaritzburg today.
The horrific attack on the couple, whose 2-year-old was also in the chalet, made headlines across the globe this week.
Karen had celebrated her 33rd birthday at the Eastern Cape holiday reserve on Monday. Crouch confirmed she had been three months pregnant when she died from the stabbing.
Speaking to the Independent on Saturday yesterday, Crouch said that his family was infuriated by insinuations that Matthew could be a suspect and that there was more to be uncovered.
The family has hired a private investigator who was working with the investigating officer on the case.
“I have personally spoken to the two guys who were in neighbouring chalets who went to the main office to raise the alarm after Karen and Matt were attacked.
“They said when they got to the office, it was already open and looked like it had been rummaged through,” Crouch said.
He said this was a different version to that of Hluleka staff, who claimed the office had been broken into by the neighbours who wanted to use the phone to contact police and raise the alarm after the attack.
Crouch added that when he had arrived at the resort, he had walked past staff being addressed by a woman who was telling them to say there were no staff at the chalet between 11pm and 7am.
“She also read from a piece of paper saying, ‘Vuyani had been told that there had been a party at the chalet and it was a domestic dispute’,” said Crouch, who believed she was referring to Vuyani Dayimane, chief executive officer of the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA).
In a statement released by the agency, Dayimane said: “Investigations into the incident are ongoing and are at a very sensitive stage and ECPTA is doing everything in its power to co-operate with police with the information they require to solve this matter,” adding that ECPTA and the Wild Coast Holiday Association were working on ensuring the safety of all visitors. Eastern Cape police spokesperson Captain Dineo Koena said the investigation was ongoing and that no case with regard to housebreaking had been opened by Hluleka Nature Reserve.
Karen Turner’s body arrived in Pietermaritzburg yesterday and Crouch confirmed that Matthew had been moved out of the intensive care unit.
The couple’s toddler is being cared for by family.
“My sister Karen was very down to earth and such a grounded person. She was a teacher at Underberg Primary and was brilliant at teaching. She was very good with kids and she was also an awesome piano player.”
He said that Karen had met Matthew when she started teaching in Underberg and had stayed at one of the cottages on the farm next door to the Turners. They married in 2017.
“They got to know each other and spent a lot of time travelling around.
“Matt is a gentle giant and a thinker. He’s such a soft person,” said Crouch, adding that Matthew had gone through a very emotional week, losing both his wife and unborn child, as well as coping with his own severe injuries.