Jesse Hess case postponed over delay in DNA report_1

Two male suspects, believed to have been involved in the brutal murder of University of the Western Cape (UWC) student Jesse Hess and her grandfather, appeared in the Bellville Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 12 February. 

According to Western Cape National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila, the case will resume on 8 April due to outstanding DNA reports.

“The case has been moved to 8 April for further investigation,” said Ntabazalila.

When asked if it was due to a delay in DNA reports, Ntabazalila said he wouldn’t call it a “delay” and said they are simply “still waiting for a report.” Ntabazalila confirmed that the two men suspected of killing Hess and her grandfather will be held in police custody until the next court date.

The defence questioned why further investigation is needed, pointing out the matter dates back to August last year. It was therefore requested this be the final postponement. The magistrate later turned down the request, explaining that the case is new and has only been on the roll since mid-November 2019.

Jesse Hess and grandfather brutally murdered 

Hess and her 85-year-old grandfather Chris Lategan were murdered in August 2019 in their home in Parow. A window had to be broken to get into the flat. The stolen items included Jesse’s backpack.

The first-year theology student was found on a bed, while Lategan was discovered tied up in the toilet.

The family moved out of the one-bedroom council unit that same day. They took only their clothes, not wanting anything else as their home had become a crime scene. Two months after the brutal double murder, no suspects had been arrested.

First suspect in Jesse Hess murder apprehended 

A man, believed to be a distant relative of Hess, was found and apprehended in Struisbaai in the Overberg on Wednesday 13 November 2019, after allegedly raping a 16-year-old girl in Hanover Park just two days earlier. 

Western Cape SAPS Captain, Frederick van Wyk said that based on some of the evidence found in Hanover Park, the man could be linked to the murder of Hess and Lategan. 

Van Wyk could confirm that that the mentioned person was of interest to the investigation of Hess and her grandfather’s murder. “Circumstantial evidence currently links him to the crimes,” he said. 

“He is also positively linked to a rape and robbery of an incident which occurred on Monday 11 November 2019 in Hanover Park, where a 16-year-old girl was raped,” he said. 

Second suspect arrested 

A second suspect was arrested in connection with the murders of Hess and her grandfather. The man was taken into custody on Tuesday, 19 November 2019. 

He was then expected to appear in the Bellville Magistrates Court on Wednesday 20 November 2019, alongside the first suspect.