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Experts reveal brutal force behind the injuries that killed 8-year-old Tazne van Wyk

Tazne van Wyk was murdered, her body dumped in a drain outside of Worcester in 2020. Pictur: African News Agency(ANA)

Tazne van Wyk was murdered, her body dumped in a drain outside of Worcester in 2020. Pictur: African News Agency(ANA)

Published Aug 5, 2022

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Cape Town - Tazne van Wyk suffered “severe blows” to the head, neck and chest when she was killed.

Moyhdian Pangkaeker on Thursday appeared in the Western Cape High Court where an expert testified as to how little Tazne, 8, had died.

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Pangkaeker, 56, is facing 27 counts of murder, kidnapping, rape, incest, sexual assault, sexual exploitation of a child, sexual grooming of a child, desecration of a corpse and absconding from community corrections.

Tazne’s body was discovered in a stormwater drain along the N1 with her hand chopped off on February 19, 2020, two days after his arrest.

Forensic expert Celeste Ingrid Herbst said that based on her report after she had examined Tazne’s remains, “the cause of death is stated as blunt force trauma to the head, neck and chest, unnatural. So the cause of death was a combination of three different types of injuries.”

She said the pattern of bleeding after looking at the fracture at the base of the skull showed that Tazne sustained a blow to the right side of her head, which would be fatal even for adults.

Moyhdian Pangkaeker on Thursday appeared in the Western Cape High Court where an expert testified as to how little Tazne, 8, had died. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)

She said the fracture indicated severe force to the right side of the head, which extended the injury and resulted in bleeding on the left side of her head.

She explained that the hyoid bone – a U-shaped bone in the neck that moves the muscles for swallowing and talking – was broken on either side.

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“It’s usually indicative of blunt force trauma or an application of force to the anterior neck. The fact that both sides of these bones were broken is highly indicative of the fact that the deceased was most likely strangled,” Herbst said.

“You need a severe force to fracture a bone, she is eight years old, so there is only a little bit of cartilage left, it’s mostly bone, so you need quite a bit of force to fracture the bone especially on both sides.”

She said Tazne’s front ribs were fractured on the left side where the bone meets the cartilage, which is usually indicative of a blow to the chest. She said the bone was fractured, which takes severe force to do.

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Anthropology expert Professor Jacqui Friedling said that while she couldn’t determine if Tazne was sexually assaulted, the injury to the interior of her pelvic bone was consistent with penetration.

The trial will proceed on Monday where the State will deal with the charges of incest.

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