BUSHBUCKRIDGE, South Africa -- Mystery surrounded the death of a South African farmhand Monday, with police saying he may have committed suicide by wading into crocodile-infested waters and his sister alleging he was murdered.
David Lubisi went missing from a property near the Kruger National Park on April 7 after allegedly telling a co-worker he was going to kill himself by walking into the Lepelle river.
The father-of-three's grisly plan seemed to be confirmed when his employer, Dutch national Jesper Kehlet, told local newspaper Sowetan that a neighbor had last week spotted a crocodile with a human leg protruding from its jaws.
But the man's sister, Esther Lubisi, believes her brother may have met with foul play.
"I think my brother was killed and fed to crocodiles, or just thrown into the river," she told Sowetan.
"There are many unanswered questions. His employer did not immediately come to us or send one of the other employees to come and tell us about the incident," she said.
A ward councilor in the Bushbuckridge municipality supported Esther Lubisi's claims on Monday, calling on the government to tighten laws to stop the murder of farmworkers "because the practice is becoming prevalent."
At a press conference Monday, as reported by The Sun and The (London) Daily Mail, Sgt. Malesela Makgopa played down claims of murder, saying that local police "have not ruled out foul play for certain, but neither do we have any reason to believe anyone else was involved."
"We believe [Lubisi] may have been having domestic problems with his girlfriend and that he wanted to commit suicide," Makgopa told reporters.
"If that is true then it was a particularly horrible and painful way to die."