It was a double blow for the families of Esselen Crescent murder victim, Rookmoney Moodley (70), who was found strangled to death on Wednesday and hours later, her twin sister, Radha Moodley (70), passed away after suffering a stroke that evening.
Speaking to The Phoenix Tabloid, Radha’s only son, Donovan Moodley (38), said the families are overwhelmed with unimaginable grief. “Situations like this we read about in stories and watch on television. Suddenly, we find it happening to us. To lose two beautiful twin sisters just hours apart is mindboggling. We are reeling from the absolute shock of the murder and my mum’s sudden passing which we as a family believe is relative to the special bond between twins. We are at a loss as to whether my mum knew her sister was murdered but we know that the connection and bond they shared was extremely close and so we believe that that bond transcended from life and united both sisters in death,” said Moodley.
Rookmoney’s son, Mervin, made the gruesome find when he went home and discovered his mum’s lifeless body with a soft belt tied around her neck in Esselen Crescent, on Wednesday afternoon. She was declared deceased at the scene and her house was found ransacked with the safe missing.
Phoenix SAPS communications officer, Cpt L Naidoo, said, “Upon the arrival of police at the scene, the members interviewed a man, who alleged that he had received a telephone call from his sister-in-law informing him that his niece had been dropped off by her transport from school and was outside of the gate and had no access into the property. The complainant then contacted his 70-year-old mother who was at home as he had left her before leaving to work in the morning.
“The complainant received no response from his mother’s cellphone after calling her several times. He then drove home in order to establish what happened. Upon his arrival at home, the complainant found the kitchen burglar gate and door wide open. He entered the house and found that two bedroom doors were also wide open. In the one bedroom, the complainant noticed that a safe which was mounted, was removed. The safe contained cash, jewellery, numerous keys and other items.
“The complainant then went into the other bedroom and found his 70-year-old mother lying on the bed. Upon closer inspection, he noticed that his mother had a soft belt tied around her neck. He checked her pulse and found that she had no movement. The complainant then contacted the SAPS and the ambulance. 70-year-old Rookmoney Moodley was declared dead at the scene,” said Cpt Naidoo.
Police reported that the motive for the killing is robbery as an undisclosed amount of cash, the house keys and the deceased grandmother’s cellphone is also missing.
The suspects are unknown at this stage. No arrests have been made. A case of murder and house robbery is being investigated at Phoenix SAPS.
Moodley said the funerals for the twin sisters were held on Friday for Rookmoney and Saturday for Radha. “The sisters were the salt of the earth type of women. They were raised from humble beginnings. They shared a unique relationship and lived a street away from each other. They loved the community and had hearts of compassion,” said Moodley.
He added, “We are puzzled and devastated by my aunt Rookmoney’s murder. We cannot understand why someone would end her life in that callous manner.
“Many elderly persons are ailing and rely on domestic workers to assist them. Ensure that as an employer you are provided with references and vital information that can help you when you need to trace your domestic at some point. At this stage, we are pinning our hopes on police and we pray that they will find the person responsible for my aunt’s murder.”
“We do not wish to stereotype domestic workers but we urge members of the community who have domestic helpers to please compile a checklist of criteria when employing a domestic especially those employed for the elderly.
“This time an elderly life snuffed out so cruelly. We, as a community, need to be alert and vigilant at all times. We must adhere to warnings from police and refrain from the perception that crime will not reach us.
KZN VIP members responded to the scene after being informed of a house robbery and spokesman, Gareth Naidoo, said, “The house robbery turned out to be a murder scene. Some neighbours claim they heard screams but no investigations were conducted. A person of interest appears to be the domestic worker who neighbours claim was the last person to depart from the house. It is sad that an elderly person had to lose her life in this heinous way.” Phoenix CPF chairman, Umesh Singh, said, “Yet another murder rocks the suburbia of Phoenix.
“We are all susceptible to criminals. It’s just a matter of when they strike. We extend our condolences to the grieving families and we trust that police will work around the clock to nab the person or persons responsible for taking an innocent life and robbing a family of a mother and grandmother.”