2017, October 5: The Missing Patient

The Stellenbosch Hospital
Stellenbosch Hospital in Stellenbosch, South Africa. [Larger version here]

It was a very strange matter. Teteteke Gqotsi, a 61-year-old father of six, had undergone abdominal surgery on October 5, 2017, and had been placed in a room at the Stellenbosch Hospital in the town of Stellenbosch, South Africa, to recover. Around 5:15 am a nurse went to his room to check on him. The nurse stepped out of the room to fetch some clean linens for the bed, and when she came back Gqotsi was not in the room.

        In theory, his abdominal surgery should have prevented him from walking anywhere... yet he was gone. The hospital started to search for him, apparently quietly; I say apparently, because Gqotsi's family was not notified of his disappearance until October 7, when a staff member of the hospital called to ask if Gqotsi was at home or not. Not surprisingly, the family searched the hospital and its grounds themselves that day, then came back with the police the next day. The search for Gqotsi continued until October 20, when his body was discovered by workers doing renovation work at the hospital.

        Gqotsi's remains were found in an "isolated area in the ceiling at the facility." Not surprisingly, the hospital had no answer for how it could have happened.

        Additional reports as of October 30 stated that the hospital had conducted an autopsy and talked to the family... but they were not saying much. They told Gqotsi's family that he had not died from any complications of the abdominal surgery then, in a very unspecific way, the family was told that Gqotsi had not died of natural causes. The family were given the impression that his body had been placed where he was found after he was already dead. Past that, the hospital was waiting for a few more autopsy reports before saying anything more, and the whole matter had been taken up by the local police... heavily suggesting foul play was involved. Further details will have to be waited for...

Possibly Paranormal...?

        Strange though the matter above is, it became stranger still when it was picked up by international news services; this is because they repeated local reports from South Africa released on October 23 about the disappearance and the finding of the body... but very few -- if any (I haven't found one yet) -- went back to report about the autopsy and the suspicion of murder. So based on an October 24 report, a website called Mysterious Universe reported the events on October 25 as a case of "spontaneous teleportation," stating that "nobody [at the hospital] has any earthly idea what happened." The main reason for this diagnosis of 'teleportation' was the presumed short time between a nurse seeing Gqotsi before going to get some new bed sheets, and then him being missing when she returned with them... but no news article actual states how long this job took, so the 'teleportation' guess is just a guess.

        As of the October 30 revelations, I think it's safe to say this is not a case of the paranormal... but I'm definitely filing it under 'Crimes of an Unusual Nature,' and will be checking back on it to find out the whos, whats, and whys of this odd matter. The hospital insisting their surgery was not the cause of death while not actually specifying the cause smacks of the institution trying to divorce themselves from the matter to protect their reputation; it's never a good look, and implies they know more.


        I went back to look at this matter at the start of 2024, to see if any new developments had occurred... and the first thing I noticed was a larger number of websites claiming this was a paranormal death, usually with statements regarding "high strangeness" and "teleportation," and the fact that most of those sites were then claiming me as a source for their information. On the brighter side, at least they gave me credit, right?


        In 2019, a very similar incident occurred at a different hospital in South Africa where a man with a broken leg went missing and was eventually found decomposing and dead in the ceiling of the hospital. This case, too, has very little information I can find -- I've examined the case at my Patreon website -- but just on the similarities it seems likely that either a copycat or a repeating offender was involved, though the two hospitals are about 1,000 miles apart.

        Because of this second incident, a reporter with the IOL website went back to Gqotsi's family at that time to ask about the situation with his disappearance... and not much had changed. An autopsy had determined that Gqotsi had died of 'natural causes,' and both the hospital and the police had lost interest in the matter after that.

        Gqotsi's brother, Christmas Khethwane, stated that the police only got involved with the matter after the family contacted them to start with -- the hospital had not -- and that the investigator assigned to the case had basically given up; now the investigator's daughter was suggesting that Gqotsi's family might be able to sue the hospital, but that still answers no actual questions about what happened.

        It seems safe to assume that the hospital's need to protect itself almost certainly prevented the police from being able to do any sort of proper investigation of the matter to begin with. It looks like the only way forward for more information on this odd incident would be to directly investigate in South Africa... but that won't be me doing it!

Anomalies -- the Strange & Unexplained, as well as my other website -- Monsters Here & There -- are supported by patrons, people like you!

All new Anomalies articles are now posted for my patrons only, along with exclusive content made just for them. You can become a patron for just $1 a month!

PatreonAnomalies on PATREON --
Click here to find out more!