The 28-year-old Swedish woman, named by the Expressen newspaper as Anni Dewani from Mariestad in central Sweden, was traveling with her 31-year-old British husband, Shrien Dewani of Bristol, when two armed men stopped the minivan in which they were traveling, according to several media reports.
“It’s just terrible. She was the most beautiful girl in the world,” Dewani’s father, Vinod Hindocha, told Expressen.
Anni and Shrien Dewani had been married just three weeks ago in India and arrived in South Africa last week to celebrate their marriage.
The newlyweds had been out to dinner on Saturday night and taken a taxi from the restaurant when two men forced the driver out of the minivan and drove off with the couple around 11pm.
Upon being released by the kidnappers, Shrien Dewani called the police, who later found his wife murdered in the taxi.
“We know that a Swedish citizen has been found dead in South Africa and that the police are looking into it,” Swedish foreign ministry spokesperson Camilla Åkesson told the Aftonbladet newspaper.
According to the foreign ministry, the woman is from central Sweden.
The carjackling and murder has received a great deal of attention in the South African and British media. The Cape Town tourism office said that the murder was the first killing of a tourist since last summer when South Africa hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup football tournament.
The two men stopped the taxi as it was traveling in Guguletu, a township about 15 kilometres outside of Cape Town, the tourist office told the Sapa news agency on the News24.com news website.
After being released near the Khayelitsha shantytown, Shrien Dewani received a ride to a nearby police station from a passing motorist.
The police launched a search for Anni Dewani and later found the taxi in Lingelethu West. The murdered woman’s body was in the back seat. The killers disappeared without a trace.
Alan Winde, a tourism official for the Western Cape, theorised that the taxi driver may have gotten lost.
“They were returning to the city at 10pm and they asked the driver to take them to a very well-known hotspot in Guguletu,” Winde told SkyNews.
“It sounds as though they had gone a little off course when the carjacking took place.”
Police spokesperson André Traut refused to comment on how the woman was killed prior to an autopsy, he told Sapa.
But Anni Dewani’s father told Expressen his daughter had been shot.
“She took three bullets to the chest,” he told the newspaper.
“There aren’t words to describe her. She was a dream girl.”
According to Expressen, Anni Dewani grew up in Mariestad and studied engineering at colleges in Gävle in eastern Sweden and Halmstad in western Sweden.