A 16-year-old boy appeared in court on Monday accused of brutally murdering his six-year-old neighbour.
The brief hearing took place behind closed doors at the Bonnievale Magistrates’ Court.
Murdered Franklin Prins’ alleged attacker was arrested after the teen lured him to a river before strangling him with a belt last week.
Franklin’s naked body was found in a nearby river 13 hours after he went missing.
It is still not clear if the murdered child was sexually assaulted during the attack.
While the quiet town is still coming to terms with the gruesome killing, both families are dealing with their loss.
After his appearance, the teenager was taken to a place of safety in Cape Town pending his next hearing.
The case was postponed to June 8.
On Monday morning, the suspect’s 49-year-old mother stood solemnly outside the police station where she saw her son off.
She said she feared this will be the last time she sees her son.
“Ek weet nie hoe om te voel nie. (I don’t know how to feel),” she says.
“Dit maak my hart seer oor wat my kind gedoen het maar wat kan ons doen (It breaks my heart because of what my child did but what can we do)?”
The woman says police allowed her to spend some time with her son inside the police cells.
“I spoke to him and he only wants to know how his (nine-year-old) sister is doing,” she says.
“They were very close.
“He doesn’t talk about what happened (with Franklin).”
The boy’s 46-year-old stepfather insists he was never a bad child, and that he is shocked by what he did.
“He was expelled in Grade 3 and since then he’s been at home helping out on the farm,” he tells the Daily Voice.
“They (police) say he is going to Cape Town.
“We still can’t believe this.
“Die oorledene se famielie sê hulle haat ons nie maar ’n mens weet nie wat in ’n ander mens se hart aan gaan nie. (Franklin’s family say they don’t hate us but you don’t know what goes on in the next person’s heart).”
The suspect’s mother sobbed uncontrollably as she hugged her son for the last time inside the police station.
The teen, sloppily dressed in a dark jersey and black cap, seemed confused as cops showed him back to the cells.
Meanwhile, back at La Rochelle, the farm where little Franklin lived, his mom Fransiena Prins, 40, has unanswered questions.
“We still don’t know if he was sexually assaulted. Police also haven’t been able to find his clothes,” she says.
“I am also still waiting for the results from the autopsy reports.”
Fransiena says she knew the teenager well.
“I didn’t expect this from him,” she says.
“He used to come here all the time.
“I don’t hate his family because they didn’t send their child to do this.
“But I hope he is punished for what he did.
“He should go away for a very long time.”
The grieving mother is expected to identify her son’s body on Tuesday.
*This article was published in the Daily Voice