DNA will tell if body is influencer, say cops

A picture of Cody Watkins on a previous hike.

Police are waiting on DNA results to confirm whether the body found at the base of a cliff on a rocky Hout Bay shore, on Tuesday last week, is that of Cody Watkins, the social media influencer who went missing four days’ earlier.

Mr Watkins, known on social media as “The Hard Trance Taxi Driver”, was last seen hiking with his girlfriend in Rocket Road, Llandudno, at about 8am on Friday September 24, say police.

Moments before vanishing, he posted a video of his location on social media and joked about how tired his girlfriend was.

Hout Bay police station commander Lieutenant Colonel Jerome Syster said it is believed that as the trail steepened, Mr Watkins left his girlfriend to wait for him and went on ahead.

“After a few hours, when he did not return, she went home and reported him missing on Monday September 27,” Colonel Syster said.

While the authorities searched the area, social media lit up with news of the influencer’s disappearance.

A body was found on Tuesday September 28, but it could not be recovered immediately because of the dangerous terrain at the base of the cliff. Police divers recovered it the following day.

Despite numerous messages on social media saying that Mr Watkins had been found dead, police say they can only confirm that once they have the results of DNA tests.

“The family have been informed and everything. We can only say that the body was unidentifiable and we therefore needed to do the necessary DNA testing,” Colonel Syster said, adding that it would take a few days for the results to be revealed.

“There might be a link, but we cannot say for sure and will rather wait on the results instead.”

According to the Western Cape Missing Persons Unit, identification can only be done through facial recognition or DNA and not by scars, clothing or tattoos.

“If the face cannot be identified, then DNA testing needs to be done, which the family still needs to go for,” the non-profit company said in an online post.

The organisation, which posts missing-persons information on social media, urged the public to be more sensitive and not to post speculation and rumour.

“All these posts of Cody Watkins being found deceased is unconfirmed and is traumatising his family. As soon as the results are in, everyone will be notified. Please allow the family to process what is happening, the uncertainty is putting a toll on everyone,” the post read.

Cody Watkins, left, was well-known on social media as The Hard Trance Taxi Driver. Here is seen with another social media personality, Yuzriq Meyer.