Maja Janeska, a renowned South African make-up artist and social media influencer with more than 1.2 million followers, was found dead in her home under what local media and family members are claiming "mysterious circumstances". According to police Janeska, 39, was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head.
Police have launched an investigation but are yet to make any arrests. However, although they haven't ruled out any foul play, officers told local media that adding that the stunning brunette's death is "not being treated as suspicious at the present time." Her family though is claiming that Janeska was murdered and it is not a simple case of suicide.
According to police investigators, Janeska, a celebrity cosmetics artist and online content creator known to her followers as "Maya Mia", was found on December 2 at her opulent Bassonia Estate residence in Johannesburg, South Africa, with a gunshot wound to the head.
"Upon arrival at the address given, police found a woman in the bedroom with a gunshot wound on the head," said police spokesperson Lt. Col. Mavela Masondo in a statement.
"There was a firearm next to her. The woman was certified dead by the paramedics."
According to a New York Post report, at the time of her death, Janeska, was dating and living in with Kyle Phillips, co-director of the Johannesburg-based tobacco firm Carnilinx.
Phillips told cops that he was brushing his teeth in the bathroom when he heard a gunshot coming from their bedroom. Phillips reportedly told police that he is "devastated and in shock by this tragedy."
When asked who owned the gun, Lt. Col. Masondo remained silent and said, "The police cannot comment on it at this time as that could jeopardize the investigation."
The stunning brunette's death is "not being viewed as suspicious at the present time," the police said, adding that they have launched an investigation into Janeska's death.
Meanwhile, Phillips has informed the local media that he will have an autopsy performed by his own pathologist.
Although police haven't found any signs of foul play, Janeska's family is not ready to accept her death as suicide. According to a "heartbroken" family member, Janeska occasionally "feared for her life" and worried about being murdered, according to South African media site News24.
"She sometimes feared for her life. Her boyfriend had men working for him, and she feared them also," the relative, who didn't want to be identified, told News24 amid reports that Phillips "surrounded himself with bodyguards" and refused to be examined by state pathologists on the scene. "We are heartbroken, and we seriously don't know what to do."
This may be the reason behind them not accepting her death as natural. The family member continued by saying that one of Phillips' former associates informed them of her death and that the current theory is that she committed suicide.
"Our phones haven't stopped ringing — this is all new to us," said the relative, who asked to remain anonymous for the family's own safety. "We are in Europe, and our hands are tied because we can't come to South Africa because of visa issues. [Janeska] is lying there in some mortuary, and we don't have any clue as to what is actually happening."
According to Jam Press, Janeska revealed in a guest lecture she gave to university students nine days before she passed away that she traveled to Tanzania when she was 19 years old to work at a hotel. She developed her Swahili language skills during that period and began her career as a cosmetics artist and stylist.
Janeska added a photo of herself and Bujar Osmani, the foreign minister of North Macedonia, in her final Instagram post on November 22. " "establishing diplomatic relations between my country Republic of North Macedonia and my second home the Republic of South Africa," she stated as the purpose of the meeting.