Pukekohe deaths: Suspected murder-suicide of elderly South African couple

An elderly couple are believed to have died in a suspected murder-suicide.

The Herald understands the bodies of engineer Izak Andries Delport van Blerk, 81, and Petronella Erendina van Blerk, 79, originally from South Africa, were found in their Kowhai Pl, Pukekohe home on Wednesday afternoon.

Police were called about 3pm and a relative was seen distraught at the scene.

A police spokesperson said a scene examination was continuing yesterday but they were not yet in a position to release their names or details of what happened.

“Formal identification processes are still being completed and police are still in the process of notifying all next of kin,” the spokeswoman added.

Their names could be officially released later today if formal identification is completed, she said.

The couple’s daughter declined to comment when approached by the Herald yesterday.

Van Blerk, known as Andries, was a chartered structural engineer and his registration was still active with Engineering NZ.

According to its website, for engineers to qualify for that registration, engineers had to be reassessed at least every six years but it also meant they had the appropriate technical experience to work internationally.

He is also listed as the director of three active companies, including Antro Enterprises Ltd which has been in operation for just over 19 years.

According to his LinkedIn page, Van Blerk studied at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University between 1959 and 1964.

The university is dubbed “one of the four top research universities in South Africa” according to its own LinkedIn page.

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