A renowned Israeli-born psychologist was brutally murdered in South Africa this week during an armed robbery of her Johannesburg home, according to police and media reports.
Dr. Mirah Wilks, 69, was ambushed inside her home on Sunday shortly after her husband left for prayers at their local synagogue, The Daily Mail reported.
According to the report, the gang of robbers waited for Wilks’ husband to leave the house before they broke a hole in the ceiling and descended into the residence.
Her husband came home a short time later to find his wife of 46 years stabbed twelve times in the chest and back, and her throat slit.
Police said the robbers made off with two laptops and a cellphone, and have launched a major manhunt in the Johannesburg area for the perpetrators.
Wilks was born in Israel and spent some time in Australia, but lived most of her life in South Africa.
She was highly respected in her field and was renowned for her research into hate crimes, trauma and violence. Her latest project was researching resilience as a means of adaption and survival in the LGBTQ community.
Professor Juan Nel, a colleague and friend of Wilks, told media outlets the Psychological Society of South Africa was distraught after learning of her murder.
“Mirah was known to a great many of her colleagues in the psychology fraternity, and the communities she served with distinction, as someone who in the Jewish culture is referred to as ‘a mensch,'” he said in a statement.
“It is probably one of the greatest honors to be called a mensch — a good soul, a person with integrity and honor, kind and considerate, someone who always treats others with the utmost respect and dignity, someone who is admired and emulated. Indeed, Mirah was well-respected and much-loved and these memories of her will stay with us,” he added.