A 32-year-old man has been arrested in connection with her death and was expected to appear in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Harmse’s family was on Tuesday still shocked and angry about the brutal manner in which her body had apparently been mutilated.
“She didn’t drown, she was brutally murdered,” her uncle, Craig Williams, said on Tuesday.
According to Williams, who was accompanied by his wife, Yolande, Harmse’s eyes had been gouged out, her tongue had been cut out and her genitals slit.
Although Yolande’s sister, Collette, is Harmse’s biological mother, Harmse was raised by Craig and Yolande, who regarded her as their own daughter.
On Tuesday, Collette was on her way to Kimberley from Johannesburg to be with the family.
“We first realised that it could have been Angelique’s body that was pulled from the river when we read in the newspaper about the tattoos on the body,” a distraught Craig said yesterday morning.
“We last saw her the previous Sunday evening (February 3) when she came to visit us, and because she only used to visit two or three times a month we didn’t suspect that anything was amiss or that something like this could have happened.”
Craig said that the family was still trying to come to terms with the brutal way in which she had been mutilated.
According to Craig and Yolande, Toena (as Angelique was referred to by her family), lived with her boyfriend, who is a artisanal miner, at the Samaria Road diggings but the couple often spent time in Windsorton with other diggers.
“I want everyone to know that my daughter didn’t drown, she was murdered,” Craig said. “The truth must come out.”
He added that they suspected that she was murdered on the Monday, six days before her body was found floating in the Vaal River this past Saturday by a group of friends who were boating at the time.
Craig and Yolande yesterday reminisced about their “daughter”.
“We brought her up from birth. She was very jovial, full of fun and not shy at all,” they said.
As a motor mechanic, Craig never allowed anyone into his garage where he worked. “Toena, however, came in all the time, sometimes just to give me a hug or say hello. She also drove everywhere with me whenever I had to go somewhere. She called me dad she was my daughter and I was her father.
“I still cannot believe that she was murdered, she never deserved to die. When we saw her on the Sunday night she asked for money. She never lied and she told us straight that the money was to buy beer, chips and cigarettes. That was just the way she was.”
According to Craig, Harmse also always referred to his wife, Yolande, as her mother.
“Her own mother she called by her first name and Yolande was ‘mom’ to her. She used to tell everyone that there was no one more beautiful than her mom, referring to Yolande. And she had the utmost respect for her she would never smoke in front of Yolande.
“No matter how bad things were or if we had an argument over something, she would always come and make us laugh again.”
According to the family, Harmse had two young sons who lived with her.
“Why was my child taken like this?” Craig asked, pleading that her body be given to the family so that she can be buried.
“She isn’t a dog or some animal who can be left lying in the police mortuary. She was our beautiful daughter. We are pleading with the police to give her body to her family. We are her family and we want to bury her so that we can have closure.”
He added that the family wanted the truth to come out. “We want to know exactly what happened because our strength came from her strength.”
Craig confirmed late yesterday afternoon that the body had been released.
“We are now just waiting for confirmation from the undertaker as to whether he can cremate her tomorrow (today). Normally we would have the body at the house, but Toena’s body is just too horribly decomposed.”
He added that they planned to hold a memorial service on Saturday.