The wife of a Danish man who is accused by South African police of mutilating women and keeping genitalia parts in a freezer has been shot dead in Lesotho.
Anna Matseliso Molise, a key witness in the case, was due to testify against her 63-year-old husband at his trial.
She was shot four times outside her home in Maseru on Tuesday evening, and later died from her wounds in hospital.
Police say investigations are under way over whether Mrs Molise's killing was targeted or not.
Peter Frederiksen, who owns two gun shops in the South African city of Bloemfontein, is facing charges of sexual assault, intimidation, domestic violence and contravention of the Medicines Control Act.
Last month, police found 21 packages containing parts of women's clitorises, as well as surgical equipment, in his freezer following a tip-off.
South African police spokesman Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi told the BBC he was "deeply saddened" by Mrs Molise's killing, describing her as an "integral part of the investigation".
She had previously turned down an offer to be placed under witness protection.
Brig Mulaudzi said that despite the setback they were committed to seeing the case through to the end.
Peter Frederiksen is currently behind bars because he abandoned his bail application in October. He is due to appear in court at the beginning of month.
Police have appealed for his victims, who they believe are from neighbouring Lesotho, to come forward with information.
They said the defendant was alleged to have sedated the women before operating on them.
Mr Frederiksen is also wanted in his native Denmark for alleged illegal dealing in firearms.