Home News Double heartache for family after body mix-up

Double heartache for family after body mix-up

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The family of Nozililo Ruth “Dulo” Funapi, a 73-year-old Galeshewe granny who was tragically murdered, endured further distress when her remains were mistakenly interred in Hopetown instead of her hometown of Kimberley.

Nozililo Ruth “Dulo” Funapi was found murdered in her home in Galeshewe. Picture: Supplied

THE FAMILY of Nozililo Ruth “Dulo” Funapi, a 73-year-old Galeshewe granny who was brutally murdered, endured further distress when her remains were mistakenly interred in Hopetown instead of her hometown of Kimberley.

A funeral service without her body was conducted at her residence in Galeshewe on Thursday, February 22, two days after it was supposed to take place. The body had to be later disinterred from Hopetown on Saturday, February 24, to be rightfully laid to rest in Kimberley.

Funapi’s life was brutally cut short and her butchered and decomposed body was discovered in her home in Tshweni Street, Galeshewe, on Thursday, February 15.

The grim discovery followed what was clearly a heinous act of violence. Her family disclosed that she bore the marks of nine stab wounds and her throat had been cut.

A knife was reportedly found next to her body and there were blood trails on the floors.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Timothy Sam said that the discovery of the body was made after a neighbour alerted authorities due to an unpleasant odour emanating from the property.

Sam said that the police are actively seeking her grandson, Thulani Funapi, in connection with the murder investigation.

The police have identified the grandson as a key person of interest and have asked for the community’s assistance in locating him.

According to neighbours, Funapi was last seen on Sunday, February 11, when she went to a local tuck shop before returning to her residence.

She was known to be someone who favoured the comfort of her own home.

No one could recall when her grandson was last seen.

The bereaved family’s ordeal was subsequently compounded when they learned of the burial error.

The deceased’s son, Mlungisi Funapi, conveyed how traumatising the whole ordeal was for the family.

Due to the badly decomposed state of the body, Mlungisi said he last saw it at home before it was taken by forensic services to the government mortuary.

Initially scheduled for Tuesday, February 20, the funeral service had to be postponed when the body went missing.

Subsequently, the family learned from the Northern Cape Department of Health that the wrong body had been released to a bereaved family in Hopetown and had already been buried.

The family said they were left with no choice but to reschedule the funeral for Thursday, February 22.

According to the family, they had not been in contact with the other bereaved family in Hopetown.

“The whole process, including communication with the two families, was handled by the department and the Premier’s Office,” said Mlungisi.

He added that the family has since received confirmation that Funapi has been laid to rest in her rightful resting place, while the other bereaved family has also identified their loved one.

The narrative of a troubled relationship between Funapi and her grandson, marked by substance abuse and domestic violence, also casts a shadow over the whole tragedy.

The family disclosed that the missing grandson had a close bond with his grandmother, often being referred to as a “granny’s boy”.

However, trouble began when he apparently became entangled in substance abuse and allegedly mistreated the deceased.

“They used to have a good relationship and she used to be very protective of him until he started abusing drugs in around 2017.”

Mlungisi revealed that his mother had taken legal action against her grandson by filing several domestic violence cases and obtaining protection orders.

“He was giving my mother trouble. There were more than five protection orders against him. He was even arrested on several occasions for violating some of those protection orders,” said Mlungisi.

“Whenever I tried to intervene, she would however protect him.”

The public is encouraged to share any knowledge they might have regarding the whereabouts of Thulani Funapi with the investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Garcia Bitterbos. Information can be shared by calling 082 469 1744 or 08600 10111. Alternatively, community members can send an anonymous SMS to 32211 or utilise the MySAPS app.

Thulani Funapi is wanted for questioning. Picture: SAPS

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