A pregnant woman was stabbed to death in front of her son at a luxury resort in South Africa. The vicious attack also killed her unborn baby and left her husband seriously injured. Their toddler was not injured.
Karen Turner and husband Matthew Turner, 33, were staying at a two-story chalet in Hluleka Game Reserve in Mthatha when they were attacked while they were asleep in the early hours of Tuesday, Sept. 17—just hours after celebrating Karen’s 31st birthday.
Two men wielding knives reportedly broke into the property and stabbed Karen, who was three months pregnant. Police said she died almost instantly. Matthew was also stabbed in the upper body, but survived the attack. Their 23-month-old son Hayden, who witnessed the attack and was sleeping on the bed with his parents, was unharmed.
The family’s friends, who were staying at neighboring chalet, rushed to check on the Turner’s after hearing “shouting and a struggle,” police spokesman Captain Dineo Koena said, reported news.com.au.
“The husband opened the door and he was bleeding. The wife was dead on her back,” Koena said, reported the news site. “The husband was rushed to hospital in Mthatha in a stable condition. The baby is with their neighbor.”
Matthew was taken to Mthatha Hospital, where he underwent surgery. He was then airlifted to Pietermaritzburg Hospital, the news site stated.
The CEO of the agency that manages the resort where the attack took place said it is “shocked” at the murder.
“As an agency who manage the reserve we are shocked that his taken place in one of our flagship coastal reserves as the safety and security of our guests is our key priority,” CEO Vuyani Dayimani said in a statement obtained by Metro.
“The two guests were booked in from Monday to Thursday and police were called after a stabbing incident. The police have confirmed one visitor passed away and another is in hospital,” he added. The resort is located in the country’s Eastern Cape.
Koena said no valuables were taken from the property and there were no signs of forced entry. Police are still figuring out a motive behind the attack and said they have identified at least one suspect.
“It is just a matter of time,” Koena said, referring to an arrest.
Karen’s older brother Ian Crouch told News 24 that his brother-in-law described what happened when he visited him at the hospital.
“Matthew said he woke up to being stabbed in the stomach and Karen screaming next to him,” Crouch told the outlet. “The one man was stabbing Matthew in the stomach and the other man was stabbing Karen.”
Crouch said Matthew told him that he managed to push one of the attackers off and that’s when both of the men ran downstairs and fled.
Crouch told the Sunday TimesLIVE that Matthew thinks they left because he got up and confronted them. “Nothing was taken. They didn’t demand anything. They didn’t ask for money. They literally came up, stabbed him and my sister. He (Matthew) thinks they left because he managed to get up and fight a bit. He thinks because of the resistance, they left. They didn’t have time to take anything because he had chased them out,” he said.
“Matthew said he chased after them and Karen was behind him. The last thing he remembers her saying to him was to check on Hayden,” he said to News 24, adding, “He tried to follow the men but saw them jump off the balcony. When he turned around, Karen had collapsed.”
Crouch told the station his brother-in-law had been unconscious until Wednesday, adding, “He is a little groggy from the medication but knows he has lost his wife and is very emotional about it.”
Koena said the investigation is ongoing. Herald LIVE reported that an autopsy was conducted on Karen’s body Thursday and that family members have since received her remains.
Karen, who was a schoolteacher, and Matthew, a dairy farmer, got married in July 2017. They lived in Underberg in a house they recently moved into which is located on a farm managed by Matthew.