Globe-trotting botanists beaten to death and fed to crocodiles

A British couple missing in South Africa were fed to crocodiles after being kidnapped, robbed, and murdered, prosecutors in the eastern coastal city of Durban said Tuesday.

Respected botanists Dr. Rachel Saunders, 63, and her husband, horticulturist Rod Saunders, 74, went missing from their campsite in the Ngoye Forest Reserve, 90 miles north of Durban On Feb. 10, 2018, the Durban High Court heard Tuesday, reported The London Evening Standard.

According to court documents seen by The Times, the couple — who were trekking the area in search of rare plant seeds — was allegedly beaten to death at some point between Feb.10 and Feb.15, 2018.

They were then tossed into the Tugela river, where they were eaten by deadly crocodiles, the documents added.

Per The Times, police said a fisherman later found the Saunders’ remains, but due to the level of decomposition they could not be identified until DNA tests were carried out.

The Saunders were highly-respected in their field and regularly trekked through remote forests in search of rare seeds for their Cape Town-based online business, Silverhill Seeds.

In February 2018, they filmed a segment for the BBC 2 show Gardeners’ World with host Nick Bailey in South Africa’s imposing Drakensberg Mountains as they searched for rare plants. After filming, the couple, who had been married for 30 years, parted from the crew on Feb. 8 and camped in Ngoye Forest Reserve.

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