According to the mother of the teenager, a woman saw the incident and reported it to the police. “The information we received was that a woman saw a red car dumping a body next to the road, before driving off. The woman did not see the registration number of the car. She informed the police and they went to investigate,” said Van Wyk.
She said that she was first alerted that something could be wrong when she received a call from a friend telling her to check whether her daughter was at home. “I was not at home that night. My friend called saying I must go home and check on my daughter. I rushed home but before I even arrived, my friend phoned back and said her husband, who is a police officer, was coming to pick me up.
“My mother and I went with him to the police station and they showed us to the forensic van. I told my mother to go look as I did not have the strength to do so. After a few seconds I went to look for myself ... it was my child lying dead in the forensic van,” she said, crying bitterly.
Van Wyk said she last spoke to her daughter when the teen asked for some money. “Panni asked for some money and I said I did not have any. I had my purse on me but refused to give her any money. I later went to a friend’s place and my mother informed me that Panni had gone to town with some friends and her cousins.”
She said the people who accompanied her daughter were not able to provide any clear details about what had happened.
“According to her friends, they went to the tavern. They said Panni wanted to go to her boyfriend, who lives in town. One of her cousins apparently told her not to walk alone and to wait for them. The cousin apparently went to call her boyfriend so that they could accompany Panni to town. However, when they returned Panni had already left. They are not certain how or with who.”
Van Wyk said she hoped that those responsible did not let her daughter suffer during her final moments.
“I could not look at my daughter’s body for a long time. Her face did not have any bruises or scratches. There was only a bit of blood coming from her mouth. I pray that they did not torture her. There are rumours that she was raped and I hope it is not true. I will not be able to handle it, knowing that my child was tortured. They killed her but I pray she was not tortured or killed in a cruel manner ... knowing that will kill me,” Van Wyk sobbed.
She said that she hoped the perpetrators would be brought to book soon. “No one has been arrested yet but we hope the police will catch those responsible soon.” Van Wyk said the post-mortem will be performed today and her daughter will be buried next Saturday.
Warrenton police spokesperson, Sergeant Sipho Talitwe, said that the police were investigating an inquest into the girl’s death. “The information at this stage is still sketchy. Once a suspect has been arrested, we will change the charge to one of murder.”
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