A 27-year-old Black lesbian was killed and her body mutilated in what South African authorities believe was a hate crime.
Local LGBTQ+ rights group Vaal LGBTIQ+ told media outlet MambaOnline that Nontokozo Caroline Motloung had gone missing on May 15 from the Tshepong informal settlement, outside Bloemfontein.
Police are now searching for a male friend she was last seen with, according to the outlet.
Motloung's family reported her missing to the police three days after she was last seen.
Local district commissioner Major General Zodwa Ettie Molefe told MambaOnline that the community then began searching for Motloung.
While friends and family were not able to find any trace of Motloung, police dogs were able to find bloodstains at the male friend's residence.
Molefe said that two community members eventually found her body in some shrubbery.
"On Saturday, 21 May 2022 [in the morning] Nontokozo's dead body was found hidden in a bush, not in good condition," Moutloung's brother confirmed to the outlet.
Her throat had been cut and her hands had been broken. Her body had also been damaged by the weather and animals.
"It's alleged that Nontokozo Caroline Motloung was brutally murdered because of her sexuality," Vaal LGBTIQ+ said in a Facebook post.
A memorial was held Thursday near Motloung's home by the organization.
MambaOnline notes Motloung's killing is the fourth LGBTQ-related death in South Africa this year. The others include the killings of two queer man a queer woman. Another victim had been attacked but survived in what police believe was a hate crime.
In a survey conducted in 2016, about 88 percent of anti-LGBTQ+ crimes in South Africa go unreported, according to PinkNews.