Mom wakes up after ex kills kids
Johannesburg - On Friday morning injured mother Linda Nothnagel woke up in a normal ward at Netcare Union Hospital in Alberton to face life without her teenage daughters.
On Thursday the 43-year-old was a mother of three. Today, however, she is left only with a son after her ex-husband Paul Nothnagel ambushed her on the morning school run, killing their two daughters, wounding her and walking away to commit suicide.
This was a father whose Facebook page shows a close bond with his children.
On May 14 he posted that Chane had been accepted at North West University where she would join Kobus Myburg - Linda’s son from her first marriage.
On Father’s Day he wrote that he was the luckiest father in the world, blessed with the greatest children. He tagged Kobus as well as Chane and Mischke in the post.
This makes Thursday’s tragedy all the more shocking.
Linda was driving the girls to a bus stop near their home in Alberton when Paul jumped out from behind a tree and opened fire on them. She screamed for help as, according to unconfirmed reports, he fired 10 shots at 18-year-old Chane in the front passenger seat, the next two at 14-year-old Mischke in the back seat and then two more at Linda herself.
After that, Paul strolled to his car parked a short distance away. He got inside and fired a single shot into the side of his head.
He died slumped sideways next to a framed photograph on the passenger seat - a sepia portrait of a smiling mother embracing her two happy daughters within a halo of light.
Linda was divorced with a son when she married Paul. They then had Chane and Mischke.
According to an unnamed relative, Paul and Linda are believed to have divorced more than a year ago. Linda had custody of the children, with Paul seeing them on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The relative, who was at the scene, said Paul had picked up the girls from school on Wednesday and spent the afternoon with them.
On Thursday morning, Paul drove his white Toyota Fortuner to the parking lot of a business premises on Hennie Alberts Street in Brackenhurst, Alberton.
He got out of his car and walked to the corners of Hennie Alberts and Alice streets, the route the family take every morning to work and school.
When their car approached, he opened fire.
Abram Moraba witnessed the shooting. The day before, he had seen a white Toyota Fortuner parked on the corners of Hennie Alberts and Alice streets.
On Thursday morning at about 6.30am, he saw the vehicle again. It had reverse-parked into the parking lot.
As Moraba walked on, a Hyundai Getz approached from Alice Street. As it approached the stop sign, Nothnagel stepped out from behind the tree where he had been hiding.
He approached the vehicle, pulled out a gun and opened fire at Chane through the front passenger window. Linda braked, shouting: ”Help, help!”
Nothnagel, who wore a beanie that he had lowered to his eyes, continued shooting.
Unconfirmed reports put the number of shots fired at Chane at 10.
According to Moraba, a calm Nothnagel then shot at Mischke, who was seated behind Chane, with a school bag strapped to her back.
After that, he turned his attention to the driver’s seat and shot his hysterical ex-wife.
Through it all, Moraba was frozen in fear and watched everything unfold.
“After shooting them, the man turned back. Even though he saw me, he didn’t say anything.
“He cocked his gun and said ‘F**k’ and just walked slowly to his car.”
The vehicle was parked some distance away.
Moraba ran towards the Hyundai, and other motorists also stopped to help.
Moraba and a man in a BMW pulled Chane from the car and tried to get her to Mulbarton Hospital.
“On the way to hospital, the man didn’t even stop at the traffic lights.
“I was with the girl at the back and she wasn’t saying anything, just vomiting. I kept saying to her: ‘Be strong, we are almost there.’”
Bernard Karusseit, a caretaker at a nearby townhouse complex, rushed Mischke to Netcare Union where Linda was taken by the paramedics.
But both girls died before they could be treated.
When Moraba returned to the scene, he discovered that Nothnagel had shot himself in his car moments after he had shot his family.
The framed picture of the smiling trio lay on the passenger side of his vehicle next to his slumped body.
“I tried to help her (Chane) by taking her to the hospital.
“I did not know her but I wish I could go to the funeral,” Moraba said.
“I am so traumatised and scared,” he said.
Karusseit said he heard shots being fired and thought it was a hijacking.
He rushed to the scene, and on arriving there, saw the injured family.
The police have opened cases of double murder and attempted murder, and will conduct an inquest.
The family member on the scene said Linda had told him on Wednesday night that she was going to get a court order against her ex-husband because he kept threatening her.