Maja Janeska, an online beauty influencer with more than 1.2 million followers on Instagram, has been found dead under “mysterious circumstances.”
Police investigators said Janeska, 39, was discovered with a gunshot wound to her head at her luxury Bassonia Estate home in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Dec. 2.
Police spokesperson Lt. Col. Mavela Masondo said in a statement: “Upon arrival at the address given, police found a woman in the bedroom with a gunshot wound on the head.
“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 her followers, was reportedly dating and living with cigarette tycoon Kyle Phillips, co-director of the Johannesburg-based tobacco manufacturer Carnilinx.
Phillips told authorities he was brushing his teeth in the bathroom when he heard a gunshot coming from their bedroom.
Police confirm that they’ve launched an investigation into the influencer’s death.
Meanwhile, Phillips has told local media he is hiring his own pathologist to carry out an autopsy.
A family member told South African media outlet News24 that Janeska sometimes “feared for her life” and worried about being murdered.
The relative said: “Our phones haven’t stopped ringing — this is all new to us. We are in Europe, and our hands are tied because we can’t come to South Africa because of visa issues. [Janeska] 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, who allegedly claimed suicide was currently the suspected cause.
“She sometimes feared for her life. Her boyfriend had men working for him, and she feared them also,” the anonymous relative told News24.
Phillips has reportedly “surrounded himself with bodyguards” and refused to be examined by state pathologists on the scene.
In her last Instagram post on Nov. 22, Janeska 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.”
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