A top private investigator has described how he located the body of a woman who went missing on Table Mountain nearly two months ago.
The private investigator could also reveal that Ghanaian national Charlotte Nana Yaa Nikoi, 50, was found with her cellphone, wallet and passport, “ruling out foul play”.
The associate director of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) went missing on 21 March, Human Rights Day, while hiking with her family on Table Mountain.
The couple and their daughter were in Cape Town to celebrate their 22nd wedding anniversary.
Charlotte was last seen around 1pm on the Platteklip Gorge trail.
Her husband, Chris Nikoi, also put up a reward for information about her whereabouts.
Paul Scheepers, owner of Eagle Solutions Technology, says the husband and the United Nations (UN) then contracted him to help find Charlotte.
“I specialise in cellphone and computer forensics. Nikoi’s husband and the UN approached me to assist in locating her,” he explains.
“I triangulated her cellphone signal and initially the last signal was on Table Mountain.
“The mountain was searched, until last week when we did a review of all information gathered and I came to the conclusion we had to go back to where the phone signal was last triangulated.
“It was then brought to light that the side of the mountain we searched on Tuesday was not searched before.”
He says Table Mountain needs clearer trail signs as it appears Charlotte took a wrong turn and got lost.
“As we were walking down the trail, you don’t see the sign to the road when you reach the end of the trail. She must have missed the sign and went towards Devil’s Peak on that bend,” says Scheepers.
“The area where her body was found is not a high-risk area. Her body was found unmoved. She had everything on her, her phone, wallet and passport.
“She had no injuries. She took the wrong route and walked the wrong way.
“Pathologists could not determine the cause of death because the body was badly decomposed, but they suspect natural causes and found no indication of foul play.
“Nikoi’s body was found 70m down the path from the last triangulation of her phone’s signal.”
In a statement, Unicef expressed sympathies to Charlotte’s family.
“Nana Yaa was a committed colleague who devoted the past 18 years of her life to the work and values of the United Nations. Her warmth and steadfast support will be missed by all those who knew her,” said Najwa Mikki, spokesperson for Unicef.