Suicide note found on scene where The Lost Boys of Bird Island author Mark Minnie died
A suicide note was found on the scene where the body of Mark Minnie, a former Port Elizabeth policeman and co-author of the recently released book, The Lost Boys of Bird Island, was found.
The body of Mark Minnie, 58, was found near the bush at the back of a Theesecombe small holding by the owner of the property with whom he was staying on Monday night.
The small holding, called Theescombe Roses, is situated in Venter Avenue and has several dilapidated greenhouses, some of which are growing roses.
While Minnie’s body was found shortly before 9pm on Monday night, by noon on Tuesday detectives and forensic experts returned to the scene to comb the area.
The firearm found near Minnie’s body is believed to belong to the owner of Theesecombe Roses and a former police colleague of Minnie, Brent Barnes.
Police spokesman Captain Johan Rheeder said that Minnie had arrived to stay with Barnes on the small holding on Monday morning.“He went there on Monday morning asking to stay for a few days stating that he want to get out of the city for a short while to relax,” he said.
“During the course of the day, the owner of the farm went out and continued to do his daily work. Later in the day, a farm worker heard a gunshot and reported it to the owner however he did not think anything of it.”
By Monday evening, a female friend contacted Barnes asking if they had seen Minnie as she was struggling to get hold of him.
“The owner (Barnes) then went to go look for him (Minnie). They searched the house and could not find him which is when they went outside to search the surrounding area.”
Rheeder said that at about 8:50pm his body was found near a tree on the farm, with a pistol lying near to the body.
“At this stage it appears that there is no foul play however investigations are on-going.”
Rheeder said that a preliminary inquest investigation was underway pending the coroner and forensic report.
“If foul play is evident, the case will change to murder. At this stage it remains an inquest case,” he added.
Asked about the firearm, Rheeder said that a handgun was found “near the body” and had been confiscated by forensic experts.
Questioned about the owner of the firearm, Rheeder said that the firearm did not belong to Minnie.
Police officials with inside knowledge of the case, confirmed that the firearm was believed to be registered to small holding owner, Barnes.
Asked if a suicide note was found on the scene, Rheeder said that a note was found on the scene but declined to elaborate.By afternoon Rheeder said that a docket of failing to safeguard the firearm will be opened for investigation with regards to how Minnie got the firearm.
Minnie worked for the police's narcotics bureau in Port Elizabeth in the 1980s before leaving the police and recently co-authoring a book where he claims to expose a paedophile ring involving three former National Party Ministers.
A friend and former police colleague of Minnie, who declined to be named, said that he was meant to meet him over the weekend.
“He was a hard worker, but also played hard. He believed in this case and said that he had more info that would shock everyone,” he said.
“I do not believe he would have taken his own life. I am aware that he had photographic evidence that he kept with him and did not want to publish it”, he told HeraldLIVE.Mark Minnie’s body was found at the back of the small holding in Venter Avenue.Marianne Thamm, who wrote the foreword of the book, posted a message on Facebook shortly after news of Minnie’s death broke.
“Just heard the devastating news that Mark Minnie, one of the authors of the Lost Boys, has died ... of an apparent suicide.
“I worked with both Mark and Chris on the book and I am devastated by this. I know he was terrified for his life and that there are many who lurk in the shadows who would benefit from his death....My deepest condolences to his son and daughter - he was so proud of them - and his loved ones and Chris Steyn...”