The festive season got off to a tragic start in Port Elizabeth, when a Bethelsdorp teenager was found stabbed to death at Hobie Beach after the annual opening of the season celebrations at the weekend.
The body of Curtley Alexander, 17, was found at 4.45am yesterday.
He had been stabbed in the chest, police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said.
Five teenagers were arrested yesterday in connection with the murder.
“Acting on information received, [police arrested] three teenagers from Arcadia at their houses at about 1.45pm,” Naidu said.
A fourth suspect, also from Arcadia, was brought to the police station by his mother.
Police said last night a fifth suspect had handed himself in.
The suspects, aged 16 to 18, are being detained at the Humewood police station ahead of their court appearances scheduled for today and tomorrow.
The circumstances surrounding Curtley’s death were still unclear and more arrests were expected soon, Naidu said.
Neighbours and friends gathered at the Alexander home in Harrington Street yesterday to offer support to the family.
Curtley’s uncle, Deon Alexander, 49, said the family had rushed to the beachfront on hearing the news.
He said Curtley had been visiting a relative in Summerstrand for the night and had planned to attend the opening of the season event with friends.
The family suspected an altercation had started at the beach.
“Our neighbour informed us that she had received a call from a friend of Curtley’s that they had stumbled upon his body at the beachfront near some toilets,” Alexander said.
He said it was unclear if the Arcadia High School Grade 9 pupil had been at Hobie Beach with the friend. “We are still processing [this]. “We are hurting – what was even more shocking is the way we found his body still lying there uncovered.”
Curtley’s brothers, Marvin and Wendell, said he had been very popular.
“Curtley was a very wellknown character, he had personality and was a people’s person,” Marvin said. Wendell said he had loved to laugh.
SAPS and metro police officers had their hands full during Saturday night’s opening of the season programme.
The event drew 50 000 people, metro police said yesterday.
“What was very disturbing, was that we found a number of teenagers to be drunk,” metro police chief Yolanda Faro said.
“There was even a 10-year-old boy who passed out after having consumed liquor.
“Two teenage girls were found drunk and lying on the pavement – one at KFC and one at the Boardwalk. The boy was found drunk on the grass at KFC.”
Faro said the 10-year-old was taken by a social worker to his family in Zwide yesterday and was now in his mother’s care.
“No charges have been laid against the mother at this stage, but the social worker is still busy with the case,” Faro said.
The two girls – found by metro police – were taken to the Erica House Place of Safety as their identities and home addresses could not be established.
Metro police, along with traffic and security, reported a number of successes while monitoring the beachfront and Wells Estate. These included:
Ten arrests for driving under the influence;
Thirty-six complaints attended to for obstruction of a public road;
Three hundred and fortyone fines issued for transgressions of the Road Traffic Act;
Eight cases of driving without a licence;
Two hundred and twentyeight bottles of alcohol confiscated; and
One arrest for reckless and negligent driving.
Curtley was believed to have been stabbed after the opening of the season event had ended.
“There was still a smaller deployment of metro police with Humewood police until 6am,” Faro said.
Naidu said no other serious incidents had been reported.
“Among other arrests at the weekend, nine people were arrested for drug-related offences, six for drunken driving and two for the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition,” she said.
“Quantities of dagga, mandrax and tik were [also] confiscated.”
Police also found a 9mm pistol on the beach in Summerstrand, Naidu said. “[It] was reported stolen in 2006.”