On December 4, 2015, Reshall Jimmy took a break from his digital marketing job and set off on a 700-mile drive from Johannesburg to George, a popular South African vacation spot. The 33-year-old had been planning to go skydiving and paragliding, says his younger sister Renisha, and Jimmy checked in with his family when he arrived; it was the last they heard from him. Four days later, police told the family that Jimmy was dead.
South African police said that Jimmy had died in a car fire. Renisha says the damage was so bad that forensic experts struggled to get a positive DNA match for her brother; the only parts of his body that weren’t too badly burned were the soles of his feet. “It took us 13 days to get him home. [Even] the blood in his body had dried,” says Renisha.
Since her brother’s death, Renisha says she has been contacted by 51 Ford drivers of various models whose vehicles have also inexplicably caught fire. (The Facebook group she set up in the wake of her brother’s death, titled “FORD Vehicles Burning,” now has more than 133,000 likes.) On January 16, 2017, more than a year after Jimmy’s death, Ford South Africa bowed to public pressure and issued a recall of more than 4,500 cars—all 1.6-liter Kugas manufactured in Spain between December 2012 and February 2014—that the company believes were affected by “an engine overheating condition that could cause a fire.”