A 67 year-old grandmother from Australia has been found dead in South Africa where she travelled to meet a 28 year-old Nigerian she met on an online dating site.
The woman, Jette Jacobs was found dead in a Johannesburg guest house in February, two days after she met up with a man calling himself Jesse Orowo Omokoh. According to AU News, the pair struck up an online relationship three years ago. In 2010, Jacobs travelled to South Africa to meet him before he proposed late last year. Over several years she sent over $100,000 to him.
After he proposed, she wanted to settle in Nigeria but her children had begged her to stay in Australia. Yahoo News reports that her money, credit cards, laptop computer and jewellery were missing. Omokoh was the last person to see Jacobs alive and told police he found her body but he has since disappeared.
Although an empty pill bottle was found near her body and the South African police initially thought she had committed suicide, her children believe she was murdered.
“Anybody who knew my mother would know that there is no way that she would do that,” her daughter told 6PR.
Her son, who wants to be identified only as Mr Jacobs, told Yahoo News: “After losing dad, mum was feeling very lonely so she went online and went to one of the dating sites and this young man contacted her and started to chat to her. Mum, not realising what she was getting herself into, started talking to this guy. This was about four years ago, and in that period of time they’d been chatting quite regularly, then she decided to travel to South Africa to meet him.”
“We didn’t want her to go, we tried to stop her but she pushed us away and said we didn’t know what we were talking about. We didn’t understand he was a true friend and not one of those scams, and she really believed that she had someone that really loved her.”
A joint operation between West Australian Police and Consumer Protection tracks large amounts of money being sent from West Australia to West African countries. A letter was sent to Jacobs warning she might be a victim of fraud but it arrived shortly after she had left Australia.
Detective Senior Constable Robert Martin, from the Major Fraud Squad, says the circumstances surrounding her death are suspicious. He told Yahoo News that the rising number of tragic occurences from meeting a person online is alarmingly high. “My warning is that unless you have met the person face-to-face you do not know what you are dealing with when you are talking to somebody online. It is absolutely fraught with danger and we would say don’t sent money to anybody that you have met on the computer. We also strongly urge people not to travel overseas to meet someone they have met on the computer.”
The Police are still searching for Omokoh.