PE mourns slain teacher
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Port Elizabeth - “She had a heart of gold." That's how neighbours have described slain Port Elizabeth teacher Jayde Panayiotou.
Panayiotou, 28,was allegedly abducted from outside her Kabega Park home on Tuesday. Her body was found in KwaNobuhle, outside Uitenhage on Wednesday. She had been shot dead.
The close-knit community described Panayiotou's death as unbelievable.
A neighbour living at the same complex as Panayiotou said she was traumatised by her death.
“She was such a wonderful girl. I would see her every morning and we would greet each other. She had a beautiful smile. It's just too heartbreaking thinking about what happened to her, “ said the neighbour.
All through Port Elizabeth on Thursday, motorists drove around with their headlights turned on in memory of Panayiotou.
When IOL got to Panayiotou's complex, cars driving past were slowing down to peek into the complex. One motorist stopped his vehicle telling his wife, “This is where they took her from,” before shaking his head and driving off.
Some residents questioned how it was possible for Panayiotou to be abducted without an alarm being raised.
“It's extremely strange that nobody heard a scream or saw anything. It's just so difficult to believe,” said Bradley Jacobs, a Kabega Park resident.
Panayiotou's complex is walled with electric fencing and access control. The spot outside the complex from which it is believed she was abducted is in full view of two roads and is less than 50 metres away from another complex across the road. At 4pm in the afternoon there was a steady flow of cars on the road.
“There are always cars on this road. It just does not make sense for us. Irrespective of what happened she didn't deserve to die the way she did,” said Jacobs.
Panayiotou's husband and the rest of her family are currently at the family home in Uitenhage. Funeral arrangements have not been finalised as yet.
On Facebook, thousands of tributes flooded pages created in Panayiotou's memory.
One post read : “Fly free Jayde, let your wings soar” another read: “You were innocent Jayde, you didn't deserve this. May your soul rest in Peace.”
Police say that they are at an advanced stage of investigation.
On Thursday, preliminary reports confirmed that Panayiotou was shot. A post mortem to confirm her exact cause of death is scheduled to take place on Friday morning.
Her body will then be released to her family for burial.
Police spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse Van Rensberg said that a special task team comprising members of the SAPS detectives, crime intelligence and forensics were working around the clock to track down Panayiotou's killers.
“The South African police services will do everything in our power to ensure that Jayde's killers are brought to book. We will leave no stone unturned in our investigation," said Janse Van Rensburg.
Earlier on Thursday reports emanating from local newspapers linked Panayiotou's abduction and murder to a previous hijacking incident at the Greenacres mall. Police say that the link is being investigated but they cannot confirm it at this stage.
Panayiotou taught Grade 4 to Grade 7 at Riebeek College Girls' High School in Uitenhage.
One of the last posts on her Facebook page simply reads: “She smiled at the ocean because the waves told her story.”