Maja Janeska, an online beauty influencer with more than 1.2million followers on Instagram, has been found dead in what local media and family members describe as “mysterious circumstances”.
Police investigators said Janeska, 39, was discovered with a gunshot wound to the head on December 2 at her luxury Bassonia Estate home in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“Upon arriving at the given address, police found a woman in the bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head,” said police spokeswoman Lt. Col. Mavela Masondo in a statement.
“There was a gun next to her. The woman was pronounced dead by paramedics.”
The celebrity makeup artist and online content creator, known to her followers as “Maya Mia,” was reportedly dating and living with “cigarette tycoon” Kyle Phillips, co-director of Johannesburg-based tobacco maker Carnilinx .
Phillips – who is said to be “devastated and shocked by this tragedy” – told authorities he was brushing his teeth in the bathroom when he heard a gunshot coming from their bedroom.
Lt. Col. Masondo fell silent when asked who owned the firearm, adding, “Police are unable to comment at this time because it could jeopardize the investigation.”
However, police have confirmed they have opened an investigation into the influencer’s death, adding that the stunning brunette’s death “is not being treated as suspicious at this time”.
Meanwhile, Phillips has told local media that he is hiring his own pathologist to perform an autopsy.
A “heartbroken” family member told South African media outlet News24 that at times Janeska “feared for her life” – and worried about being murdered.
“Our phones haven’t stopped ringing – this is all new to us,” said the relative, who asked to remain anonymous to protect his own safety. “We are in Europe and our hands are tied because we cannot come to South Africa due to visa issues. [Janeska] It’s lying there in some morgue and we have no idea what’s really going on.”
The family member added that they were notified of her death by a former Phillips employee, who allegedly claimed suicide was currently the suspected cause.
“She feared for her life at times. Her boyfriend had men working for him and she feared them too,” the anonymous relative told News24 amid reports that Phillips “surrounded himself with bodyguards” and refused to be examined by state pathologists on site. “We are heartbroken and seriously don’t know what to do.”
Julius Malema, leader of the South African Economic Freedom Fighters political party and a “close friend” of Janeska’s friend the cigarette magnate, addressed Janeska’s death at a news conference.
“I haven’t spoken to Kyle, but I knew her very well,” Malema told local news outlets. “We were friends. She was a very lovely lady, forward looking and she had very good plans for the continent and the country and appreciated our guidance very much.”
Nine days before her death, Janeska told students during a guest lecture that she had moved to Tanzania when she was 19 to work in a hotel, Jam Press reported. During this time, she became “fluent in Swahili” and launched her career as a makeup artist and stylist.
In her last Instagram post on November 22, Janeska was pictured with Bujar Osmani, North Macedonia’s foreign minister. She said the meeting aims to “establish diplomatic ties between my country, the Republic of North Macedonia, and my second homeland, the Republic of South Africa”.
Meanwhile, during his public press conference, Malema appeared to express doubts that Janeska would take her own life.
“She never struck me as the guy who had the potential to kill herself. She spoke her mind openly and without fear and they made love,” he said. “Nothing indicated that there were insurmountable problems that would justify killing yourself. I don’t think there were any signs of that kind. It was a shock.”
https://nypost.com/2022/12/09/influencer-maja-janeska-found-dead-under-mysterious-circumstances/ Influencer Maja Janeska found dead under mysterious circumstances