Three men from Ottery appeared in court on Thursday charged with the murder of Meghan Cremer, whose body was found hours earlier at a Philippi sand mine.
Envar Hartnick, the prosecutor at Athlone magistrate’s court, said Cremer was found tied up, and had a rope around her neck.
Jeremy Sias, 27; Charles Daniels, 39; and Shiraaz Jaftha, 34, all appeared in the dock dressed in baggy jeans and hoodies. They were represented by legal aid attorneys.
The men were remanded in custody until August 15, and appeared nervous as they were led back down into the court cells.
Cremer’s body was found around 1am on Thursday, said police spokesperson FC van Wyk.
The discovery followed the arrest of the three men on Wednesday allegedly in possession of Cremer’s white Toyota Auris. They are also charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.
Cremer disappeared on Saturday evening. She did not turn up for work on Monday at Woodstock Bakery, where she worked with her brother, Paul.
Linda Mohr, her close friend and neighbour at the Vaderlansche Rietvlei stud farm in Ottery, said she had spoken to Cremer on Saturday afternoon.
The horse-mad 30-year-old, from Knysna, told her friend she was “all snuggled up and ready for bed” with her new dog.
When Mohr returned home later, she discovered the dog walking around outside Cremer’s house and immediately became concerned for her safety.
CCTV footage showed Cremer leaving the house at 6.30pm. That was the last record of her movements.
Charmaine Louw said: “I have been following the story, hoping for a positive outcome. I am so sorry to hear this news this morning. This has to stop now! How many more lives must be lost before something is done. I am so so sorry for your family.”
Tracy van Turha posted: “My heart breaks. You and your family have been in my thoughts and prayers since Meghan’s missing picture was circulated. I am devastated. Please accept my sincere condolences.”
Jennifer Ndhlovu said: “So terribly sorry for your loss. I didn’t know Meghan, but like many South Africans, I am truly saddened by this senseless killing. May you and your family get justice. May God give you strength and comfort. May Meghan’s soul rest in eternal peace.”
Gemma Eyre, who was at school with Cremer in Knysna, said: “I am so so sorry, Paul. My deepest condolences to you and your family. Meghan you were such a lovely and gentle soul, l will forever cherish our Oakhill days. My heart goes out to you all during this tragic time.”