A desperate man hunt is underway for the murder of a pregnant mother who was killed to death in front of her family while sleeping in a luxury resort in South Africa.
Police officers and sniffing dogs were spotted today scouring the surroundings of the crime scene in the Hluleka game reserve, about 400 km south-west of Durban, in the Eastern Cape. Reportedly, they were looking for the murder weapon and any trace of the attackers.
It was inside one of the resort's beach chalets where Karen Turner, 31, was killed early Tuesday morning. Even his unborn child was killed during the attack.
The young mother, three months pregnant, had arrived on the spot the day before, to celebrate her birthday with her husband Matthew, 33, and her 23-month-old son Hayden. Some friends joined them during the trip and were in the next cabin.
But what was supposed to be a couple of days of relaxed fun before attending a wedding later in the week ended in a tragedy when two knife-wielding men broke into the Turner's independent cottage and launched a frantic attack, towards 3 am
Karen, an Underberg elementary school teacher in KwaZulu-Natal, was stabbed to death in bed and her husband – who survived – was savagely wounded in front of their child, who was unharmed. The child is believed to care for his maternal aunt while his father recovers in the hospital.
Karen died almost immediately, police said. The couple's unborn child was also killed.
The police spokesman, Captain Dineo Koena, said that the murder investigation continues.
"There are no arrests at this stage," he said.
According to News24, the chalet's police were heard today looking for the knife used to stab the couple.
An autopsy was performed on Karen's body this morning, but the results have not yet been disclosed.
Karen's brother, Ian Crouch, told DispatchLIVE: "We will remove the body and the funeral hall will take it to KwaZulu-Natal."
Crouch said that the family is satisfied with the state of the investigation.
"They are looking for the attackers," he said.
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Matthew was repeatedly stabbed and subsequently flown to a Pietermaritzburg hospital where he was operated on, according to police.
He remains in an intensive care unit where he is recovering from severe upper body injuries. The reason for the callous attack is not yet known.
According to Ms. Koena, friends of the couple who were staying in a chalet next door, woke up with "screaming and fighting", then went to check on them. Moments later they made a horrible discovery.
"The husband opened the door and was bleeding. His wife died on his back, "Koena said." Her husband was urgently taken to the Mthatha hospital in stable condition. "
Koena states that there are no signs of forced entry, but everything inside the house was upside down.
"It wasn't like theft because no valuables were taken," he said.
According to the police, the arrest of at least one suspect is imminent.
"It's just a matter of time," Koena said.
A friend of the Turners' family – both South African citizens – who spoke with DispatchLIVE via WhatsApp on condition of anonymity, said the couple was traveling to celebrate Karen's birthday.
"Friends who were with them in another cottage heard Hayden scream and scream and couldn't understand why nobody was dating him … they went to see what was wrong and found out that Kari was already past (sic) and Matthew he was in a critical condition, "the source said.
Karen's older brother, Mr. Crouch, said the couple was traveling for a wedding and had taken a week off to spend time together.
"They had arrived there that day," he said. "It has been a long day and they have been destroyed."
Crouch told News24 that he had spoken to his brother-in-law about the attack.
"The memory of Matthew was that he was awakened while being stabbed in the stomach by a boy by his side of the bed and was another guy who stabbed my sister," said Crouch.
"He said he managed to grab the boy and it was a fight on the stairs.
"They didn't ask for anything. They didn't ask for money. They came literally, they stabbed him and my sister. He (Matthew) thinks they left because he managed to stand up and fight a little.
"Think of the resistance, they are gone. They didn't have time to take anything because he had driven them out. "
Mr. Crouch said he later went to the scene where he found the windows and balcony door open. He described what he saw inside as a "bloodbath".
"You can see it started upstairs in the bedroom," he said.
Mr. Crouch said his sister was about three months pregnant and died one day after celebrating her 31st birthday. The couple had just bought a house with Underberg on the farm that Matthew runs.
They married in July 2017 and Hayden was born four months later, Crouch said.
Vuyani Dayimani, CEO of Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, confirmed that the Turners were booked into the reserve from Monday to Thursday and the police were called following a stabbing incident.
"As an agency that manages the reserve, we are shocked that it took place in one of our flagship coastal reserves, as the safety and security of our guests is our top priority," he said.
Family tributes spilled online.
Matthew's friend, Darryl Louch, wrote on Facebook: "Today I have such a heavy heart. Matthew Turner my heart bleeds for you friend. In the past you have overcome challenges, but nothing you have ever borne will make this simpler, something we will never understand, but all we can do is stand and pray for you and Hayden (son) during this incredibly difficult time.
"Karen, may you rest in peace knowing that your children are cared for and will be followed by those you leave behind. My support and prayers are addressed to the Turner and Crouch families during this horrible time. "
Another friend, Micky Hayter, commented on the post: "Absolutely tragic. So really so sad. "
Former schoolmate Ian Crawford said that Matthew was very much appreciated by his colleagues and many looked at him.
"He played rugby and he liked being outdoors. It is very tragic news, "he wrote.
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