Namibian murder: 2 Americans arrested

Cattle Baron owner’s son Andre Heckmair assassinated in Namibia Jan 7 2011:

The NamibianHundreds of relatives and friends joined the influential Heckmair family in Namibia on Friday to grieve the unexpected loss of 24-year-old André Heckmair, murdered execution-style on Friday January 7, 2011 in Klein Windhoek. Young Heckmair’s body was found in a Land Cruiser station wagon at noon, slumped behind the steering wheel, shortly after he was shot execution-style: one bullet, fired through the right temple.

 HECKMAIR Andre murder suspects Marcus Tomas, Kevin Townsend Jan142011 SOUTHERNTIMESAFRICAPicture source for commercial news media, purchase from:


Police say the gunman must have stood outside the car and fired the shot shortly before a motorist spotted the Land Cruiser in the middle of the road in a small street at about 13h00 and called the police. Heckmair was shot in broad daylight. The police’s immediate investigation put them on the trail of two American men who were arrested late on Friday afternoon at a guest house in Windhoek West on charges of illegal marijuana-possession.

Grief-stricken family and friends spilled out of the church’s main hall into staircases and onto the entrance steps of the Christuskirche, as the church was filled to the brim with a community still trying to come to terms with the brutal murder of a young man at the start of his life. Peter, Birgit and Bianca Heckmair, the grieving father, mother and sister of the deceased, listened as friends and family summarised a young man’s life, a task no one had imagined would be necessary for many years to come.

Heckmair’s girlfriend in Switzerland, Christine Brühwiler, did not attend the Windhoek memorial, but a video montage put together by her was shown at the memorial. On the same day as the memorial held in Windhoek, another was held in Switzerland, where Heckmair was studying.

The two Americans accused of the murder, Kevin Townsend and Marcus Kevin Tomas, made a third appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on Friday. This time, the men appeared on charges of murder, robbery, possession of firearms without a licence and possession of ammunition.

NamPol Deputy Commissioner Silvanus Nghishidimbwa on Friday confirmed that shortly after the Police arrested Tomas and Townsend at a guesthouse on the day of Heckmair’s murder, the barrel of a gun and a silencer was found in their luggage.

This evidence, plus SMSes linking the accused with Heckmair and witness accounts stating that the Americans had made several enquiries about Heckmair after their arrival in Namibia, are seen as strong evidence of their involvement in the murder.

Speculation as to the motive is rife, but increasingly there are indications, reports Namibian,  that Heckmair became known to Tomas and Townsend through a third party, Heckmair’s girlfriend Brühwiler.

  •  According to sources, Brühwiler is ‘being questioned by police and other authorities investigating the murder, in order to establish a motive for the murder’, reports Namibian.

March 7 2011 bail application:

State prosecutor Meriam Kenaruzo asked the court to postpone their next appearance to March 7 to allow further investigation. Nolan Swarts, Tomas’s legal representative, and Vetumbuavi Uanivi, Townsend’s lawyer, confirmed that a formal bail application will be made on the same day.


About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

One Response to Namibian murder: 2 Americans arrested

  1. C says:

    Any news on this?

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