Women Accused of Rhino Crime Syndicate Involvement ‘Traumatized’ After Two Days in Police Custody


Two women are among the accused members of a rhino crime syndicate.

Two women, Marisa Toet and Sariette Groenewald, believed to be involved with a crime syndicate responsible for killing hundreds of rhinos in South Africa, were among eleven suspects held by police for two days prior to their September 22nd court appearance.

Along with their husbands, Dr. Karel Toet and Dawie Groenewald, the two women are suspected of running a major rhino crime syndicate in South Africa.

Marisa Toet is the wife of veterinarian Dr. Karel Toet, owner of Nylstroom animal clinic. Sariette Groenewald is married to Dawie Groenewald of Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris.

Due to construction work, the eleven suspects were held in temporary quarters at the Musina police station. Those close to the suspects noted that the two women were “traumatized” by the ordeal.

Family members said the two women are extremely traumatised after being detained in police cells for two days, according to the newspaper.

Before court proceedings on Wednesday, the accused were held in a corrugated iron building at the Musina police station in unbearable heat.

The building is used to detain accused while construction work on the court has been dragging along for about three years.

The ladies are not likely to win much sympathy from the public. The suspects’ court date happened to coincide with World Rhino Day, when people all over the world took a stand against rhino poaching and the illegal trade in rhino horn.

All suspects were released on bail and are scheduled to appear in court again on April 11th, 2011.

Source: News24

Image via LA Times; emphasis added.

Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, an educational nonprofit organization which provides news and information about wildlife crime and endangered species. I am the Editor of Rhino Horn is Not Medicine and Project Pangolin, author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine, a writer for the environmental news blog Planetsave, the host of Behind the Schemes, and Producer for the upcoming documentary The Price. When I'm not blogging about the illegal wildlife trade, I enjoy gardening, reading, designing, and rocking out to live music.

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  1. pity they didnt die of dehydration, if i had my way, would have left them in that shack, do they think they deserve special treatment, cause they white.

    kevin bewick

    anti poaching intelligence group southern africa

  2. I would imagine, and hope, they will get no sympathy at all from the public, and they deserve none. They deserve whatever comes to them, perhaps they may realise one day what trauma they put the rhinos through with their shameful actions. It makes one sick to the core to look at these people and think what they have done for pure greed. They deserve no compassion at all.

  3. Well, well, SOOOOO sorry for them, they deserve all they get if they had ANYTHING to do with poaching.

  4. Traumatized……really tried being shot your face hacked or chainsawed off and left to die…
    That is traumatized…. and what they are guilty of…!!!


  6. Definately no sympathy from me. They did not have any sympathy when the butchered those innocent rhinos. They have robbed the world, nature, and us of those beautiful creatures. Their cold hearts leaves me cold. May they get a punishment equal to their crimes. You reap what you sow.

  7. What happened to “INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY”?

  8. These people do not belong in jail.
    Nobody has heard from THEM what happened. Why so rude and cruel to them?
    Ever occurred to you that YOU are not such an angel yourself?
    Come on people, give them the benefit of the doubt.

  9. Belinda van der Merwe

    I never thought the day would come that I would feel nothing for my own people. These are all white Afrikaans people. They have just brought shame over us. The Afrikaner is proud people, but they are babarians. They can rot in jail for all I care. I hope nobody shows them pitty. The woman did not feel traumatised when those Rhinos were suffering. Did they feel traumatised in their luxury homes. All the nice things they bought with the money they got from the Rhino Horn sales. NO!!!

  10. Shaun, SA, Cape town

    @ Elna……..do you know these people???? dont be clouded because of their skin colour!
    What a disgrace, having researched these people extensively and the companies they own, they live a life of royalty whilst slaying rhinos…….and for what????? MONEY???? It is a true shame what these people did, yes maybe we will hear their stories and versions, but strange how money was quickly given for bail, almost as if it was an emergency fund awaiting. Shame on you people………..NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! If they can be given life, then so be it! Those hunted rhinos will never touch our African soil again!

  11. Mag hierdie klomp moordenaars lank agter tralies gaan sit, al het julle nie self hierdie pragtige diere dood gemaak nie is julle net so skuldig!!!!!!!!!!!Sies vi julle. En jy Marisa wat jou kop so in die lug gehou het tydens jou Ringbal toernooi in Nelspruit waar almal van jou gepraat het en jou dit nie eers laat sleg voel nie, mag jy net so skuldig gevind en gevonnis word oor hierdie misdaad want die DELER IS NET SO GOED SOOS DIE STELER.

  12. I am disgusted at this “Sariette Scum bucket” and her Lowlife criminal husband, not to mention their criminal sidekicks!
    They should have left her and Marisa Toet in the corrugated structure for another two days.
    I would love to know how they go about their daily business now; as well as how they are seen by the local community.

  13. Francois Robbertze

    [FROM THE MODERATOR: Francois, your previous comment set off the blog’s automatic spam filter and therefore, was not approved.]

    Dear Moderator

    My message of October 4, 2010 at 7:01 am is still awaiting moderation. I see a message of Kevin on October 5, 2010 at 6:41 am was accepted after my message.

    I have now reason to believe that rhinoconservation.org cooperate to help “kill” and judge people that is not yet found guilty of any crime.

    Cyber bullying is also a crime.

    These people have a life just like you! I know some of them and it is not fair to humiliate them without any proof.

    They will get punished when the court find them guilty in 11 April 2011. But if they are not found guilty, how will “they go about their daily business” as KEVIN said.


    It is my opinion the law on restriction of rhino horn trade will not save the rhino. Rhino horn is more valuable than gold.

    What very little people know or what the media don’t inform the public is that a rhino horn is only keratin (the same as nail and hair) and grow about 12cm to 16cm per year. A rhino owner can “harvest” a rhino horn every three to four years. Studies have show that cutting off a rhino horn is not serious trauma to the animal (the authorities does this anyway to protect the rhino) nor does it affect their social life.

    I am also against rhino killing.

    I don’t know what the solution is to stop PAUCHERS from killing rhino.

    In my opinion they must legalise the trade of rhino with the proper methods and processes. Their must be only one organisation that regulates exports of rhino horn. This way a lot of foreign capital can be generated without killing one rhino.

    Hunting of rhino is legal with a permit but “harvesting” rhino horn can be much more effective. This way the market value and demand of rhino horn will depreciate. The Rhino Conservation Organisations must also propagate the non-medical value of rhino horn with proper backup studies. (and maybe investigate negative side affects from consuming rhino horn)

    Dawie Groenewald bought rhinos from all over SA including the Kruger National Park as you already know, but he also sold rhinos. I know of 30 rhinos on one farm that is alive and healthy. Another 32 rhinos is still alive and healthy on his farm Pragtig.

    All this sad and horrifying pictures of dead dehorned rhino can not be linked to Dawie Groenewald, but is pasted next to his face on every second website.

    I think everybody must start to look at a broader picture here and stop destroying other peoples lives. The real poachers is still out there!

  14. Imagine how traumatised the rhino,s were

  15. Rhino Poaching is extremely bad and distasteful to feed an Asian habit that needs more media work in Asian Media disproving that ground rhino horn does nothing medicinally, but 1st let the law run it’s course….. Innocent until proven Guilty… Amazed how folks always believe the media 1st and then pass judgement onto others… Imagine if that was one of you that was possibly mistakenly arrested with them??

  16. Gwen Sylvia Burns

    What a shocking thing for so called humas to do, sorry i’m a Christian, but i am livid to see such disgusting treatment to any animal, these people should all hang, and their companies closed down and people should not go to visit their safaris or go to their veternaries at all. This is disgusting.

    Maybe cut a part off their bodies and leave them to die then they will see what a shocking thing they have done no mercy should be used on on these rats

  17. Gwen I agree with you, I am also a Christian and am pretty sure that the Lord does not condone such actions. These are creatures created by God, if they have no respect for these beautiful creatures, they have no respect for the Lord either. They have shown no mercy for these Rhino, so they do not deserve any mercy at all.

    These people should be severly punished. They will be burning in hell one day!

  18. [FROM THE MODERATOR: This comment has been edited.]

    South Africa is [deleted] full of criminal wildlife whores- from the game farm operators to vets to judges in the criminal justice system. These people have shown that they will do anything for the US dollar, including shoot lactating female lions in front of her cubs!!!!!