Cape Town - The half-naked body of a 14-year-old girl from Heinz Park was found in her grandmother's backyard on Sunday morning.
Horrified family members say they found Janika Mallo with her head bashed in and “her brain leaking” from the left side of her face shortly after 8am.
The girl’s dungarees had been pulled down, and it is understood she had been raped before being bashed with a concrete block over the head.
The Grade 7 pupil at Northwood Primary School was well-known in the community for her friendly nature and lived with her mother, Janine Mallo, 31.
The traumatised mother, who couldn’t stop crying, on Sunday said her last interaction with her daughter had been on Saturday about 6pm when they had had an argument.
“I smacked her in her face and told her she cannot go to the soccer club’s event in Portland, and that was the last I saw her alive,” she says.
“The last thing I gave my child was a smack across her face. She was on her way home as far as I know when last I heard from her and her friends.”
Janika’s body was covered with a pink baby blanket where she lay on her back in the middle of her grandmother's backyard in Chapini Street.
Her father, Marlon Koopman, 38, his wife and sister stood crying as a teacher from Northwood Primary School prayed over the girl’s body.
Koopman, who lives in Crossroads, said he had seen Janika a week earlier, and had been pushing her to come visit him over the weekend as he was concerned about her but says that never happened.
“Her face was beaten in with a big brick. I think she was made unconscious and then they raped her. Her dungarees were around her ankles. Her chest was covered, but she was naked otherwise,” he said sadly.
Marlon and his family believe the perpetrators are a group of young men “known for their mischief” in the community.
Police spokesperson, Captain FC van Wyk, confirmed a murder is being investigated.
“The circumstances surrounding the death of a 14-year-old girl whose body was found on Sunday at 8.17am, lying in the backyard of a premises in Chapini Street, Heinz Park, Samora Machel is under investigation,” Van Wyk explains.
“A murder case was registered for investigation. A post-mortem will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Crime scene experts are on the scene combing the scene for clues. Detectives are following all leads to solve this case.”