DNA unmasks serial rapist nearly two decades later

The serial rapist was nabbed with DNA evidence. Photo: Pixabay.

The serial rapist was nabbed with DNA evidence. Photo: Pixabay.

Published Apr 19, 2024


Science has revealed the identity of a serial rapist that tormented a part of the Free State nearly two decades ago.

Serial rapist Teboho Isaac Mnculwane, 38, was nailed by DNA evidence.

The provincial police spokesperson, Sergeant Mahlomola Kareli said relief was brought to the rape victims.

“Tumahole Family Violence, Child Protection, and Sexual Offenses (FCS) Unit working together with [SA Police Service] SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory brought relief to victims of rape in the town of Koppies as a rapist was unmasked by DNA analysis,” Kareli said.

In September 2008, a 15-year-old mentally impaired girl told her grandmother that while she walked around in Kwakwatsi, an unknown masked man grabbed her, took her to an open field, and raped her.

The grandmother reported the incident to the Koppies police and a case of rape was opened. No one was arrested.

In September 2012, a 13-year-old girl was taking a nap at home when an unknown masked man broke into their home and raped her. She reported the matter to her sister and a case of housebreaking and rape was opened. No one was arrested.

In July 2013, a 61-year-old woman was asleep when she heard someone breaking into her home and went to investigate. She found a man wearing a mask and a scuffle ensued, however, he overpowered her and raped her before fleeing the scene. A case of housebreaking and rape was opened.

In December 2013, a 46-year-old woman arrived at her Kwakwatsi home and was attacked by an unknown man wearing a mask. He pushed her into the house and repeatedly raped her at knifepoint overnight.

“Teboho Isaac Mnculwane was traced and arrested by Tumahole FCS Unit after the members received information on his whereabouts,” Kareli said.

“After the arrest of every suspect for cases falling under schedule 8 (murder, attempted murder, rape, attempted rape, statutory rape, kidnapping, robbery, housebreaking) buccal swabs, fingerprints and an image of the suspect are taken to ascertain the identity of the suspect and for analysis. To also ensure that the suspect is not a wanted person in any other case.”

Mnculwane was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment in 2016 for the rape of the 46-year-old woman.

All the cases at Koppies were placed as undetected pending DNA results as samples were collected by the Local Criminal Record Center members who attended the scenes.

The analysis of the results and matching of evidence found is done by the Forensic Science Laboratory specialists in Pretoria.

“In 2017, after analysis was conducted and reports made ready, all three rape cases were reopened after a positive DNA confirmation led the investigator Warrant Officer Sophie Kgayane to Groenpunt correctional centre where they previously arrested and sentenced accused Mnculwane was serving 18 years for rape.

“Serial Rapist Electronic Crime Investigation took the cases for confirmation, and all three cases were placed back in the court roll, and the trial started,” Kareli said.

On April 18, 2024, Mnculwane was sentenced to life imprisonment each for the rape of the then 15-year-old and 13-year-old, he was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for the rape of the 61-year-old woman, and six years imprisonment for housebreaking in the Kroonstad Regional Court.

He was further declared unfit to posses a firearm.

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