Police uncover tragedy behind man’s disappearance

Niël Terblanché

The Namibian Police have uncovered the tragic fate of Henry Jacobus Mapanka, who had been missing for more than two months.

Mapanka’s remains were discovered in a decomposed state inside his vehicle, which was submerged in a water-filled hole along the coast north of Henties Bay.

Inspector Ileni Shapumba, the head of the Community Affairs Division of the Namibian Police in the Erongo Region, provided the sombre conclusion of the investigation into Mapanka’s disappearance.

It had been suspected that Mapanka went missing while driving his vehicle between the Ugabmond and Springbokwasser.

The discovery came after a report received last Thursday, which alerted the authorities to a white vehicle submerged in water approximately 21 kilometres from the Ugabmond toward Torra Bay.

According to Inspector Shapumba, a team of senior officers and investigators from the Erongo Police responded to the report the following day.

“Upon arriving at the scene, they found the white vehicle completely submerged in a water-filled hole, which had been created during road construction alongside the road,” he said.

With coordination and assistance from the Namibian Navy, divers were deployed to recover the vehicle. By 16:35, the vehicle was successfully extracted from the water.

Inspector Shapumba said that a decomposed body, suspected to be that of Henry Mapanka, along with his identity document and personal belongings, were found inside the vehicle.

“It is suspected that the deceased person drowned during an unusual overflow of seawater in the area, covering the gravel road during high tide. The vehicle only became visible after the water receded,” Inspector Shapumba said.

The next of kin have been informed, and Inspector Shapumba stressed that no foul play is suspected in this tragic incident.

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