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A WEST Australian woman who went to South Africa to find love has been found dead in her rented villa in a suspected romance scam.
The body of Jette Jacobs, 67, of Wagin, was found in her rented Johannesburg villa by police on February 9.
Ms Jacobs had travelled from Wagin, about 200km south-east of Perth, on November 22 last year to visit a Nigerian man she was having a relationship with on the internet. According to WA Police, it is the first such WA death as a consequence of an online scam.
Ms Jacobs, a widow with six grandchildren, lost her husband in 2002 and her subsequent partner in 2009.
She then met a man purporting to be “Jesse Orowo Omokoh” from Nigeria on a dating website and they had regular contact over a four year period.
Ms Jacobs had sent at least ,000 to Nigeria during this time and met the man known as Jesse during a visit to Johannesburg in 2010 without incident.
During her last visit, Ms Jacobs was to meet Jesse for a second time but he said he could not get a visa to join her immediately.
A letter from Project Sunbird was sent to Ms Jacobs warning that she may be a victim of fraud, but it arrived shortly after she had left Australia.
WA Police and Ms Jacobs’ son believe she may have died in suspicious circumstances, with her money, credit cards, jewellery, laptop computer and other personal items missing from the villa.Detective Senior Constable Robert Martin from the Major Fraud Squad today said such scams had now revealed “tragic consequences”.“We were hoping with our operation we would be able to prevent this from occurring,” he said.“Unfortunately with Ms Jacobs, she did receive a letter from our Operation Sunbird team, informing her of the dangers, however she had departed for South Africa prior to receiving the letter.Her friend had the letter sitting in the room when I went to visit, it was sitting on the table.”Const Martin said detectives had found an extensive paper trail showing the relationship stemmed back four years, with a number of emails between the two, including one where Ms Jacobs tells Jesse she is raising money for him – the money was meant to go to sick children.
“I am try as you know to raise the money and by the way you are the only one who know this ok,” she wrote.