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Heartbroken dad pays tribute to murdered daughter Jesse Hess

Jesse Hess’s heartbroken father Lance recalls the special relationship he had with his daughter. Supplied

Jesse Hess’s heartbroken father Lance recalls the special relationship he had with his daughter. Supplied

Published Nov 23, 2019

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Cape Town - “When people come up to me they expect me to smile, I don’t want to, I want to be sad, I want to scream, I want to be angry.”

These are the words of Jesse Hess’ heartbroken father Lance. His daughter was murdered almost three months ago, along with her grandfather Chris Lategan in their Parow flat.

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It is alleged the two were strangled to death. He recalled happier times when Jesse turned 16 and he took her out to celebrate.

“I said if a guy comes to take you out and he doesn’t bring you flowers or greet the people inside the house, then you don’t go with him.”

Lance said he bought Jesse a bunch of roses for her birthday.

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“We used to love to go to McDonald’s together. Both my daughters love to eat. We had our own time together.

“Whenever we wanted to talk we would go for coffee and discuss how we feel about things.”

Lance, holding back tears, said there were so many things they did as father and daughter.

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“We spoke about cars. I said to her I want to buy a GTI and she said: ‘what? Daddy are you having a mid-life crisis?’

“I said but I’m not that old, I can still buy one. Just before she passed, she said one day when she gets married she wants to get married in a field of sunflowers. I asked her where will you get that in Cape Town and she said ‘But daddy by the time I get married there will be a field of sunflowers’.”

He remembered when she wanted to get baptised.

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“I said, ‘this is a big step in your life, you must be serious about this’. She said, ‘but daddy I will do everything for the Lord’. Before theology she wanted to do fashion, then media.

“When she said she wants to study theology, I asked her if she was sure.

“She said she wanted to serve the Lord with everything.”

She wanted to go to Joburg for a youth conference and her dad told her he would help her with some money but would not be able to give her everything.

“She said, ‘you know what daddy, I will leave it in God’s hands’. Believe it she went to that conference and had accommodation and everything.

“I believed her faith carried her through a lot of things.”

As with most fathers, when he heard Jesse had a boyfriend he wanted to buy a new aluminium baseball bat, he said jokingly.

“She said, ‘but daddy he is my friend’. I said rather tell me he is your boyfriend. I had to accept that she is not a baby anymore. I used to call her my baba. She still is my baba. Her sister, Jesse and I loved going to the park. They wanted me as big as I am to climb on the slide. We had fun.

“I’m going to miss that. Just last week her sister asked don’t I want to take her to the park. I felt so heartbroken, I wanted to take her but I felt so sad that Jesse won’t be there.”

Jesse Hess’s heartbroken father Lance recalls the special relationship he had with his daughter. Supplied

Jesse Hess’s heartbroken father Lance recalls the special relationship he had with his daughter. Supplied

Lance said he would miss the drives when he would fetch her from the university. This is when Jesse would give him the rundown of her day.

“It was a pleasure to listen to her.”

With pain in his voice, he explained that he wanted to teach her how to drive because he had already started saving to get her a car.

“I didn’t even get that opportunity to buy my daughter a car. I love Jesse very much, I can’t explain it. That she is not there anymore, it’s heartsore.

“She would share her gospel music with me. We would sing in the car together like two mad people. She would always ask if she sounded fine.

“I would say baba you sing fine but you need to sing louder because I can’t hear you sometimes. It was always a big joke for me.”

In a letter for her father which the Weekend Argus has seen, she wrote: “Daddy, Happy Father’s Day, thank you for all that you have done for me.

“I am happy for who you have become. God had truly blessed me with someone like you.

“I hope you have a wonderful day today and a blessed one.”

Her stepmom, Audrey Hess recalled some of her fondest memories of Jesse.

“It was her laughter, even now when I see pictures of her I think of her laughter. It makes me sad because that she is no longer here. Her sister and she, when they were smaller, would take baths. Tristan (her sister) still puts statuses up of her and Jesse, she misses her,” said Audrey.

Jesse Hess’s heartbroken father Lance recalls the special relationship he had with his daughter. Supplied

She said there was emptiness felt at church now. A blazer that Jesse lent to Audrey in the week she was murdered will be framed. “She lent it to me for a back-to-school thing on the Friday and I was Jesse the prefect for the day. I am going to cherish it.”

Jesse was found dead on the floor, while Chris was found tied up and gagged in the toilet. Two arrests were made in the case. One of the suspects is alleged to be a second cousin. The matter will be heard on February 12.

Weekend Argus

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