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Hundreds gather to say a final goodbye to #CourtneyPieters

Weekend Argus
FOR the last week, Pluto Street in Elsies River has been inundated with traffic.

It's here where the Pieters family home is located. And it was from here that three-year-old Courtney Pieters went missing on May 4.

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Her lifeless body was found in a shallow grave nearby – after an exhaustive nine day search.

Pluto Street is also where President Jacob Zuma, with local media in tow, unveiled a plague in memory of Courtney earlier this week. And rather heartbreakingly – it is here where her alleged killer, Mortimer Saunders (40) shared a room with the family.

Today, hundreds of people again gathered in Pluto Street; this time for Courtney's funeral and to pay their last respects to the murdered girl.



Before the funeral, Courtney's father, Aaron Fourie, told Weekend Argus it had been an "exhausting week".
"The community has been supportive and that has lifted me up. That's what's kept me above water. That's kept me where I am."

Family, friends and residents gathered outside the Pieters residence, and a band played hymns as mourners arrived to say their final goodbyes to the child.

There was also a large group of bikers who arrived from all over Cape Town, their helmets raised in the air.

"As bikers we came out to show our support to the family as well as abuse in our communities against all children. your child is my child", Andre Ford, a biker from Bonteheuwel said.

From the house, mourners made their way to the Adriaanse Community Centre in Elsies River. There they were joined by thousands more for a church service, where there were few dry eyes inside.

Afterwards mourners headed to Belhar graveyard – Courtney's final resting place.

Her parents and family will now turn their attention to the court case as they aim to find answers to her senseless murder.

"He (the suspect) was my best friend", said Fourie. "I feel angry and heart sore. I don't know what went through his head. The answers you'll only get from him, no-one else. I will be attending every court appearance. Juanita (Courtney's mother) is even more angry than I am – that I can tell you for sure. I told her be strong, I am by your side."

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