Albertina Caldeira’s disappearance – which is believed to have seen her return to her family home in Portugal – follows Thai police launching an international manhunt for her son‚ who was caught on CCTV footage allegedly shooting dead 39-year-old British citizen‚ Tony Kenway.
Kenway was gunned down in a Thai seaside town on Tuesday as he climbed into his Porsche. Video footage shows what is believed to be Caldeira walking towards Kenway as he left a nearby gym and opening his car door as he Kenway prepared to drive off.
The gunman‚ who leans into the car and fires several shots‚ is then seen running off towards an awaiting motorbike‚ which is believed to have been driven by British national Miles Turner‚ with the two then driving off.
The suspects were identified after Thai police traced the shop where the motorbike had been rented from. Both Turner and Caldeira‚ who is from Orkney in the North West‚ had used their passports when filling out their details to rent the motorbike.
Both men‚ according to Thai police‚ entered the country from Cambodia last week. They are‚ according to that country’s authorities‚ believed to have fled through the same border post just hours after Kenway‚ who is a father of four‚ was shot.
The disappearance of Albertina Caldeira‚ who lives in Cambodia‚ comes as Caldeira’s uncle‚ Jose Caldeira‚ told TimesLIVE that the family had been receiving anonymous death threats from “foreign-speaking people”.
“Albertina has left Cambodia. She‚ like all of us‚ is afraid. We have had people phoning our family here in South Africa and making death threats. None of us know what is going on.
“We don’t understand how Abel could be behind this. Its not like him. He’s not that kind of person. He is a good Catholic boy who would never hurt anyone.”
Jose Caldeira‚ who raised his nephew after his father died‚ said the family were desperate to get in touch with Abel.
“We just want to know where he is. We want to know what is going on. We want to know that he is ok.”
Abel’s friends and family have posted messages of support on his Facebook page.
In one message his friend Chris Bothma posted: “Boet be strong pray for you [sic].”
Another friend‚ David Sunny‚ posted: “Feeling sad.”
One of Abel’s close friends‚ who asked to remain anonymous‚ said he left South Africa quietly last year‚ and lost touch with most of his friends here.
“I haven’t spoke to him in a few months‚” said the friend.
“There was some altercation with his family… and he just went quiet. I didn’t even realise he moved to Cambodia. He just upped and left.”
The friend‚ who has posted on Facebook about his disbelief over the allegations against Abel‚ said they were a “close-knit group of friends”‚ but no one knew where he had moved to.
“Out of all my friends‚ he’ll be the least likely to hurt a fly. I really don’t believe he’s capable of something like this.
“I’m hoping he hasn’t run into some kind of trouble there. It seems he might be mixed up with the wrong people.”
Another of Abel’s friends‚ who also didn’t want to be named‚ said: “He phoned me at end of November and told me he is getting everything back to normal. I can’t believe this.
“What I can tell you about Abel is that he is a very kind person… I can’t believe that he would do something like this. It is not him at all‚” she said.
She‚ too‚ believes that Abel might have gotten mixed up with the wrong people.
“You never know. Maybe bad friends‚ wrong company.”
Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the Thai authorities had not yet contacted the South African embassy.
He said they would only get in touch once Caldeira had been arrested‚ so that consular services could be offered.
– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE