Church leader’s burnt body found at cemetery
Share this article:
Pretoria - Youth leader in his church, a new job and the birthday of his son around the corner – Trevor de Bruyn seemingly had everything going for him.
However, De Bruyn, of Mamelodi West, was burnt to death on Saturday night. His remains were discovered a few metres from his home at the Mamelodi West cemetery the following morning.
His shoes, part of his trousers, as well as his wallet containing bank cards and other personal items were found on the corpse.
Word in the community on Monday was that the 22-year-old had been seen getting off a taxi with a container of petrol late on Saturday.
He allegedly told the driver he was taking the petrol to his friend whose car was stuck on the other side of the cemetery. The Pretoria News was unable to verify this claim independently, with police saying they were still investigating.
His distraught mother Salom de Bruyn said she refused to accept that her son would kill himself.
De Bruyn had just started a new job at Techno Plate, a steel manufacturing company. He had intended to celebrate the new direction of his life with an outing to McDonald’s this Thursday, the 4th birthday of his son. He loved going to church and was the leader of the youth committee at the local African Gaza Church.
His mother said she could hardly believe her eyes when she saw the charred remains of her son in the graveyard on Sunday morning.
She said she had spoken to him on Saturday evening after he got back home from a funeral in Hammanskraal. He was his usual upbeat self and everything appeared normal, the grieving mother said.
“We spoke as we usually did and he told me how the funeral went and that he had a wonderful day. I asked him not to come home late and he said he would be back soon and was going to hang out with his friends just down the road for a while.
“The following morning I was woken up by my sister screaming and crying, telling me to go to the graveyard to see for myself. When I got there I found him. He had been severely burnt.”
But she said she refused to accept that he killed himself. “I don’t believe that he would kill himself; he had so much going for him.
“Even the people who saw him at the funeral he had attended on Saturday had remarked that he was his usual talkative self, a trouble-free man who would never take his own life,” she said.
His father Jacob de Bruyn said he was going to miss hearing his son playing his favourite gospel music every Sunday. “He loved listening to gospel music with all his heart and would always tell me which musicians or songs I should listen to. He always told me how good a gospel singer Oleseng was.
“Often if he did something wrong within an hour I would get a text message or a phone call to say he was apologetic,” he said.
A security guard at Mamelodi West cemetery, Gauta Sibanyoni, said he noticed people gathered inside the facility on Sunday morning after he had arrived for his shift. “When I walked over I saw the body and immediately called police. I asked the security who had worked the night shift if he had seen anything unusual or fire, but he said he saw nothing,” he said.
“The body was very badly burnt. The only thing that remained was his shoes and a bit of his trousers. This place is very dangerous at night. We often caution people not to pass through, but somehow they still use it as a short-cut to get to the other side. I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone, particularly at night,” said Sibanyoni.
Police spokesman Captain Johannes Maheso said an inquest docket had been opened. They were hoping to ascertain the circumstances of the “unusual” death.
De Bruyn's funeral service will be held at the 12th Apostolic Church in Mamelodi West on Sunday from 7am to 10am. He will be buried at Heatherley cemetery.