A South African man, identified as Thabo Silas Tsotets, has been declared wanted by Mpumalanga police after the badly decomposed body of his girlfriend, Nosipho Caroline Mthombeni, was found in the ceiling of his house.

Mthombeni’s decomposed body was found when police responded to a complaint about a foul odour from the house located in Minaar Street at Balfour.

Speaking to TimesLIVE this week, Mthombeni’s grieving aunt Nomvula Maya said her daughter, Phumzile had confronted the man weeks after Nosipho’s disappearance.

“He should stop making things hard for her family and just hand over her body so they can bury her. But he insisted he knew nothing about her whereabouts, despite a stench in the house. ” She said

After the suspect, Tsotets, was confronted by the deceased’s cousin, he disappeared, and only three days later, on October 5, 2022, Mpumalanga police made the harrowing discovery.

On arrival, they found a lady who indicated that she had moved into the house about a month earlier to stay with the father of her child.

“Police began checking the house to determine where the odour was coming from. At first, the ceiling trapdoor did not show clearly what was inside. However, the members proceeded to the next room and broke the ceiling, [discovering] a human body wrapped with some clothes.

“Emergency services personnel were summoned to the scene, but the body was in such a decomposed state that the gender could not be determined at that time. However, later, through the shoes that the victim was wearing as well as the nail polish and other features, it was determined that it was a female. A murder case [was opened].” Brig Selvy Mohlala, police spokesperson, told TimesLIVE.

The boyfriend, Thabo Silas Tsotets, is still at large.

Mthombeni’s heartbroken family has opened up about the events leading up to the shocking discovery.

Maya said questions were raised about her whereabouts several days before the body was found.

Mthombeni’s friends had reached out to Maya’s daughter Phumzile when they failed to make contact with the missing woman.

“Her friends asked, ‘When last did you speak to Nosipho?’ My daughter and I told them that [Nosipho] wasn’t someone we spoke to frequently. Her friends then revealed that it’s been two months since they’ve been able to reach her on WhatsApp, via cellphone, or Facebook.

“We didn’t take it seriously … Later, [another family member] called my daughter and told her she too got a call from [the same] friends and also asked about Nosipho’s whereabouts”. Maya said.

Phumzile and a relative went to the man’s house to look for her, but he said Nosipho had left for Secunda to work.

He allegedly disappeared a day after this confrontation, claiming he was “going to make payments on some accounts”.

Maya returned to the house twice to look for Mthombeni but was met by a woman who had moved in.

The bereaved aunt said that while there, she noticed what appeared to be a blood stain on the carpet but was told it was caused by children.

She became suspicious and decided to speak to Mthombeni’s mother, who confirmed she last saw her daughter on August 26 when she dropped off some vegetables on her way to church.

Mthombeni’s family and the woman in the house alerted police to the situation.

A devastated Maya described the family’s pain of finding out that the bad smell she encountered on her visits emanated from a decomposed body.

“We weren’t allowed to see the body … [We didn’t] find a body but a ghost,” she said.

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