Maoupa Cedric Maake

Kill Count: 10+.
Origin: South Africa.
Year: 1988-1997
Nickname: -

Suspected of being the Wemmer Pan and Claremont serial killer-rapist Maupa has been linked by DNA tests to at least 23 serious crimes. In January, 1998 serial-killer expert Captain Piet Byleveldt -- of the Brixton murder and robbery unit who arrested Maupa -- linked the suspect to numerous other inner-city hammer murders. On February 17 police revealed that Maoupa may be linked to as many as 60 murders between September 1995 and December 1997.

Maake was arrested near Jeppe railway station on December 23 in connection with 23 murders in the Wemmer Pan area in southern Johannesburg between April 1996 and December last year. Maake -- a busybody -- has also been linked to a string of hammer killings and attacks identified as related crimes by police last year. The killer targeted tailors in and around central Johannesburg, using a blunt object to attack his victims. According to the prosecution the Wemmer Pan killings were like "weekend jobs" for Maake and during the week he attacked tailors.

Maake was born in Pietersburg and came to Johannesburg to seek work in his early twenties. He became a self-employed handyman. He has three brothers, one of whom is a policeman, and is married with four children. His wife and children have since his arrest moved to Giyani to stay with relatives.

On July 6, 1997 South Africa police announced the possibility of two new serial killers stalking their nation, one near Dunbar and a second operating in Wemmer Pan, south of Johannesburg. The Wemmer Pan Killer is believed to be responsible for up to 10 murders. Police are considering the possibility that at least two killers are behind the Wemmer Pan murders. Five men and five women have been found murdered at the recreation site since April last year. Three were bludgeoned to death, six were shot.

Police warned people to avoid the area. They are investigating links between at least five of the cases but have yet to set up a special task force. Police spokesman Captain Andy Pieke said: "We believe these attacks may be connected to different killers. There is the possibility more than one serial killer is behind this, but we cannot rule out that all these murders are unrelated. The area is generally a dangerous one."

"We do not want a situation like they had in the Western Cape with the Station Strangler serial killer. There a man was convicted of only one killing. We will only confirm the exact number of bodies which are linked to a serial killer on the day that a suspect is taken to court."

The country's top expert on serial killers Dr Micki Pistorius said she had not yet looked at the Wemmer Pan dockets and was unlikely to do so until the Phoenix killer in Natal had been arrested. "It could be two serial killers operating in the same area. There is what is called linkage blindness. The police sit with dozens of dockets person and do not always know about the cases which their colleagues are investigating. "Serial murders are about patterns in the mind of the killer. They are not always obvious. Serial killers are very conscious of their own patterns. Police have to decipher these patterns; they're incredibly difficult to detect."

Elmarie Myburgh, the investigative psychologist assigned to the case, said two men had been linked to "a number of murders" in the Wemmer Pan area, dating back to April 1996 when killings were first reported. "If the men are not working together, each has an accomplice," she said.

A single profile has been drawn up and is believed to be an accurate description of both killers because they use the same modus operandi. According to Myburgh, the suspect is a black man between 30 and 40 years old who may live or work in the Wemmer Pan area. He does not have his own car and uses taxis to get around. Victims are both men and women, and do not fit a set pattern. Pieke said five murdered people had still not been identified.