A South African beauty influencer with more than 1.2 million followers on Instagram, has been found dead under what local media and family members are labelling “mysterious circumstances”.
Maja Janeska, 39, was discovered with a gunshot wound at her luxury home in Johannesburg on December 2.
Maja was found “in the bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head” according to a statement issued by police, The New York Post reports.
“There was a firearm next to her. The woman was certified dead by the paramedics.”
The celebrity makeup artist and online content creator, known as “Maya Mia” to fans, was reportedly dating and living with “cigarette tycoon” Kyle Phillips, co-director of the Johannesburg-based tobacco manufacturer Carnilinx.
Want to stream your news? Flash lets you stream 25+ news channels in 1 place. New to Flash? Try 1 month free. Offer available for a limited time only >
Phillips — who is reportedly “devastated and in shock by this tragedy” — told authorities he was brushing his teeth in the bathroom when he heard a gunshot coming from their bedroom.
However police were unable to comment on who owned the firearm, stating it “might jeopardise the investigation”.
However, police did confirm that they’ve launched an investigation into the influencer’s death, adding that the brunette’s passing is “not being treated as suspicious at the present time”.
Meanwhile, Maja’s boyfriend Phillips has told local media he is hiring his own pathologist to carry out an autopsy.
A “heartbroken” family member told South African media outlet News24 that Maja sometimes “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 their own safety.
“We are in Europe, and our hands are tied because we can’t come to South Africa because of visa issues. [Maja] is lying there in some mortuary, and we don’t have any clue as to what is actually happening.”
The family member added that they were informed of her death by one of Phillips’ former associates.
“She sometimes feared for her life. Her boyfriend had men working for him, and she feared them also,” the anonymous relative told News24 amid reports Phillips “surrounded himself with bodyguards”.
It was also alleged Phillips refused to be examined by state pathologists on the scene.
“We are heartbroken, and we seriously don’t know what to do.”
Nine days before her death, Maja told university students during a guest lecture that she moved to Tanzania when she was 19 years old to work in a hotel.
During that time, she became “fluent in Swahili” and launched her career as a makeup artist and stylist.
In her last Instagram post Maja was pictured with Bujar Osmani, North Macedonia’s minister of foreign affairs.
She said the meeting was aimed at “establishing diplomatic relations between my country Republic of North Macedonia and my second home the Republic of South Africa”.
This article originally appeared on The New York Post and was reproduced with permission
Story Credit: news.com.au