Body of Former Olympian and High Jump World Champion Discovered in Field After Suspected Shooting

ESPN reports that Jacques Freitag's body was discovered by a search and rescue team in a field in Pretoria, South Africa

<p>AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle</p> Jacques Freitag

AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle

Jacques Freitag

The body of a former Olympian and high jump world champion has been found after he went missing last month, leading police to open a murder investigation, according to reports from ESPN and local media sources.

South African police confirmed to ESPN that the body of Jacques Freitag was discovered by a search and rescue team in a field near Zandfontein Cemetery in Pretoria, South Africa, the outlet reported. According to the Associated Press, police told local outlets that Freitag had been shot.

ESPN reports that his body has since been formally identified by his family.

"The family have identified the body as his," Service Brigadier Brenda Muridili told the outlet.

Muridili added that what had begun as "a missing person's case" had since been "changed to a case of murder."

"No one has been arrested yet, but the police are following up on leads," Muridili told the media, per ESPN.

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Freitag, who was 42, competed in the 2004 Olympics for South Africa and won the long jump title at the 2003 World Championships in Paris.

According to a post shared on Facebook last month by Freitag's sister, Chrissie Lewis, the athlete was last seen alive on in mid-June, though details were minimal. ESPN reported that Lewis has said her brother struggled with drug addiction following the end of his athletic career.

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Athletics South Africa commission chairperson, Hendrick Mokganyetsi, remembered the athlete in an interview with South Africa's Eyewitness News, noting that Freitag won world titles at the youth, junior and senior levels

"On the fifth of March 2005, I remember he cleared 2.38 meters — that was a national record," Mokganyetsi said. "He was a four-time SA champ in high jump. In 2000, he won gold at the world junior champs that were held in Santiago, Chile."

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Mokganyetsi continued: "He won the gold medal at the world champs in Paris with a jump of 2.35 meters. This victory made him the first South African to win a gold in high jump at the world champs."

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