“…If you are reading this then I am dead.”
This is the opening line of a letter found hidden under a carpet in 2012.
The letter was a confession to a murder committed 13 years earlier and reignited a case long thought to be cold – the kidnapping and murder of a woman named Betty Ketani. The man who wrote the letter may have feared death at the time, but today he remains very much alive.
The reopening of the Ketani case would lead to an investigation, which spanned five countries, relied on the help of a world-renowned DNA laboratory and saw a once popular and acclaimed Rosebank restaurant close literally overnight, its owner slipping out of the country. It would also add a chilling layer of meaning to this photograph of the author of the letter, taken eighteen months before the confession letter was discovered at a house in southern Johannesburg…
Betty Ketani, a mother of three came to Johannesburg in the 1990s in search of work and a better life for her family. She landed a job as a cook at Cranks, one of the city’s most popular Thai restaurants. Life seemed to be taking a turn for the better until one day Betty mysteriously disappeared – never to be seen again…Carrington Laughton (pictured), ‘one of the men accused of killing Betty Ketani, and the author of the confession at the heart of the case, was sentenced to serve 30 years in jail.The Palm Ridge Court sentenced Carrington Laughton and his two co-accused in the so-called “cold case”.Ketani was murdered 17 years ago in a crime detailed in a three-page letter, which was found hidden under a carpet.