The Management of the South African Police Service (SAPS) has hailed the work done by law enforcement including the Investigative Psychology Section (IPS) within the SAPS, Interpol Pretoria, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Brazilian Federal Police as a victory for crimes against women and children. This after the re-arrest of 39-year-old Gerhard Jansen Van Vuuren in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday 18 June 2020.
The case involving the South African born murder fugitive dates back to December 2011 when he allegedly stabbed his then 25-year-old ex-girlfriend, Andrea Venter to death. The incident happened outside the deceased’s residential complex in Johannesburg, Gauteng.
After a failed suicide attempt at the scene of crime, Jansen Van Vuuren was charged with the murder of Venter before the Randburg Magistrates Court. He was later granted bail in the Johannesburg High Court after the SAPS successfully opposed bail twice before the Randburg Magistrates Court. Four days before the start of his murder trial in May 2013, Jansen Van Vuuren fled the country using false documentation.
Subsequent to this, a warrant of arrest was issued by Interpol Pretoria wherein a process to trace and track him down was expedited. He was later arrested by Brazilian authorities in August 2013 on a charge of false documentation and regrettably released in 2015 after serving a sentence for this crime.
Since then, Interpol Pretoria had been in contact with Brazilian authorities to locate him.
Several years later, the investigating teams collaborative efforts has now culminated with the arrest of the murder fugitive at an identified address in Brazil.
“This teams efforts in tracking down this suspect after many years of him being on the run should be commended by all. A lesson should also be drawn from this case and send out a stern warning to all who commit crimes against women and children, that the long arm of the law is bound to catch you. Our focus remains on extraditing him back into the country to stand trial for the murder of his ex-girlfriend with the intention of bringing closure to the family and friends of the deceased”, said General Khehla Sitole – National Commissioner of the SAPS.
Gerhard Jansen Van Vuuren will be kept in police custody at a public prison in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, until such a time where the extradition process that has been granted by the Supreme Court of Appeal will be expedited.