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Van Rooyen: Story Of A Serial Killer And Missing Girls

A troublemaker from the get-go, Van Rooyen got into distress with the law as a result of various incidents of theft and was sent to a reform school. Later on, he got his act together. He was wedded and had 6 kids. He began a construction business with his brother.

Then in 1979, the monster arose. Van Rooyen kidnapped two girls, aged 10 and 13, and whip them. He then compelled them to strip naked, and do sexual acts. Van Rooyen released the girls but was convicted to four years in prison for kidnapping, sexual attack, and common assault. He fulfilled 3 years before being released.

Van Rooyen And Joey

Joey Haarhoff and Gert van Rooyen
Pic: Jacaranda FM

But that was just the beginning. After his divorce, he started dating Joey Haarhoff. Haarhoff became his bait, assisting to persuade young girls to him. She would phone kids’ orphanages and foster homes, inquiring to take in young girls for vacations and weekends. One girl expended a Christmas holiday with them. They pertained to be foster parents but were rejected. So, shut down by the system, they took another way.

Between 1 August 1988 and 11 January 1990, nine girls vanished from several cities in South Africa.

Tracy-Lee Scott-Crossley (14) was noticed getting into a VW Beetle in Johannesburg. Her brother had refused to go with her to the mall where she vanished and was guilt-ridden and traumatized by her disappearance. Nonetheless, he was later convicted for the killing of a farmworker who he had hurled into a lion enclosure.

Fiona Harvey (12) was kidnapped by a Ford bantam bearing Van Rooyen’s company logo on its side in Pietermaritzburg – Personal aside, she vanished near where I resided for a while and I looked at an apartment to rent which was directly above where she was kidnapped from ( many many years later though).

Joan Horn (12) vanished in Pretoria.

Janet Delport (16) vanished after being kidnapped by a blonde woman but was later discovered wandering around in distress.

Rosa Piel (9) vanished in Alberton.

Odette Boucher (11) and Anne-Mari Wapenaar (12) vanished in Kempton Park. Both Anne-Mari and Odette’s families would later receive a letter from their daughters noting that they had run away to Durban with some boys. While in the girls’ handwriting, the letters were written under distress.

Yolanda Wessels (13 years old and the niece of Joey Haarhoff) vanished.

Joan Booysen (16) was kidnapped by Haarhoff in Pretoria. She was handcuffed, drugged, sexually attacked, and then shut in a cupboard. She managed to flee and alerted the police. The police staked out the home for four days. Joan recognized Van Rooyen and the white Bantam truck when he came back to the home. The police gave chase to the car, which later pulled over to the side of the road. In the car, Van Rooyen shot Haarhoff and then himself.

Missing girls

My escape from paedophile Gert van Rooyen' - South Coast Herald
Pic: South Coast Herald

All the above disappearances, except Rosa Piel, were correlated by witness statements or forensic information to Van Rooyen and Haarhoff following their demises. Odette Boucher’s house address and phone number were discovered written on a piece of paper and covered under a carpet in the garage, as well as her class captain’s badge and yellow bag. Anne-Mari Wapenaar’s address and home keys, as well as the envelopes and paper that they utilized to write to their parents, were discovered in his house.

None of Haarhoff and Van Rooyen’s other casualties was ever discovered, despite widespread police searches of his business premises and home. This included systematically destroying the home, using sonar equipment to scan for hidden cavities, and digging in the garden. Various presumed sightings of the girls have been reported but none could be ascertained.

As a side note, Van Rooyen’s son, Flippie, was later detained for the killing of a 15-year-old Zimbabwean girl and committing perjury. Flippie made various claims about the killings, such as the girls were dissolved in acid after being sacrificed in satanic rituals and that his dad was giving girls to a pedophile ring involving three Apartheid cabinet ministers.

His other son, Gerhard, was detained for theft and fraud.

So what occurred to the missing girls?
Where are their corpses? Not a single one has been discovered.

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