Charlotte Nikoi’s husband says cops did a shoddy job in finding his wife
Claire Keeton | 2017-06-08 16:52:15.0
Charlotte (pictured here with her husband) Chris Nikoi celebrating 22 years of marriage before disappearing.
Image by: SUPPLIED
Charlotte Nikoi’s husband has urged authorities to improve its methods for finding missing persons after her remains were discovered roughly 100m from where she went missing on Table Mountain 72 days ago.
Speaking to TimesLIVE at a hotel in Sea Point Chris Nikoi said he had no idea what happened to his wife.
“She was right there where the trail comes done – a stone’s throw away from where she left the trail and from the road. It is not helpful to speculate what happened but what is really important for me‚ given where she was found‚ is that there is no excuse that she was not found earlier‚” he said.
Nikoi said police should be held responsible for finding missing people‚ not the search parties. “The searches were not done thoroughly. I think the accountable party is the police.”
He expressed deep gratitude to the volunteers who took part in searches for his late wife. Charlotte‚ an associate director at Unicef based in New York‚ was last seen descending the popular hiking trail of Platteklip Gorge on March 21 while her husband and youngest daughter went to the top of Table Mountain.
“I know she wanted us to continue the hike but for the rest of my life I will think: Why did I not turn around with her?” Nikoi said‚ covering his eyes and struggling to hide his grief.
“I don’t want her death to be in vain. I don’t want somebody else to suffer the same fate and I think there can be improvements.”
He said their three daughters‚ the oldest of whom graduated last month‚ were devastated and he would return to New York on Monday to be with them. Nikoi was in Cape Town to celebrate her 22nd wedding anniversary with him and to spend time with their youngest daughter‚ who was on spring break from college in the US.
Nikoi also claims police did not initially harness cellphone technology to trace his wife’s whereabouts. He said: “It is my firm believe the whole operating procedure for finding missing persons is wrong. The police need a quicker reaction time and to use the tools to find her quickly.
They had capabilities (with cellphone triangulation) which could have been deployed early.”
Private investigators‚ whom Nikoi had hired‚ found his wife’s remains using the last signals of her cellphones which were found on her‚ with her passport and wallet.
On May 30 he was sent pictures and assumed it to be his wife based on the bag and clothing next to her skeletal remains.
Nikoi has appealed to authorities to make small changes‚ including making the sign indication at the turn from Platteklip Gorge clearer and having CCV cameras installed along the trail.
Meanwhile police have urged that any complaints about the investigation by police be lodged through the proper channels.
“Kindly be advised that the disappearance of Charlotte Nikoi was thoroughly investigated and allegations of police inefficiency are best addressed by lodging an official complaint with the provincial management of the Western Cape police. Allegations in this regard will be investigated‚” said police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut.