Jodine Pieters
Cape Town - The grim discovery of 16-year-old Jodine Pieters’s remains has left her family and small community shaken and numb.

The Bredasdorp teen’s charred remains were found on Sunday evening at the P&B Lime Works factory about 950m from her home.

Her “beautiful and angelic voice” is a mere memory as her family deal with their grief.

Jodine was a member of a gospel band at her church and according to her uncle, Sarel Pieters, “she had a strong African voice, like Rebecca Malope and all those gospel singers”.

“She knew all the Xhosa and Afrikaans gospel songs.”

Jodine was one of four children and lived with her single mother in their modest home opposite a crèche and play park.

Read: Two suspects arrested for Bredasdorp teen's murder

The park is where her mother last saw the daughter she described as a “sweet, loving person who is passionate about singing”.

“She said she would be back soon. I still cannot believe she is gone; it is as if she will appear and say ‘I’m back’. I feel like it’s a bad dream,” said the distraught mother.

When Weekend Argus visited the family earlier this week, the teen’s mother, Samantha Pieters, 37, appeared tired and weak. She had just returned from the crime scene where her daughter had been found.

Tears welled in Pieters’ eyes as she spoke of her daughter who had “dreams of one day becoming a teacher”.

“She loved children and she knew she would one day work with them.”

Also read: Burnt body of 17-year-old girl found

Pieters said she bore no grudges against the two men held for the rape and gruesome murder.

“They are also just children. I can’t hold any grudges towards them, but if I were to be given time alone with them I would like them to tell me why. Why did they have to do this to my child?”

Jodine Pieters’s mother Samantha spoke to the media at her Bredasdorp home.

According to Pieters, the suspects are known to the family.

Family spokesperson Gurswin Prins said: “They raped her then hit her head with a heavy rock; her family could not recognise her.”

Prins confirmed the only way Jodine’s family was able to determine it was her body was “an old burn wound on her leg”.

“They tried to cover their actions by burning her. But that scar was still visible.

“There was also no smoke in her lungs which shows that she was already dead when they burnt her,” he said.

Prins said the police found Jodine’s body on Sunday before her 14-year-old brother visited the police station to inform them about his missing sister.

“When her brother told the police she was missing, that is when they made the connection because they had already found the body,” he said.

Domestic violence and substance abuse is a problem in the sleepy town.

Jodine is yet another victim of the scourge. Last year Sulnita “Nita” Manho, 23, was also found murdered.

It is almost five years since 17-year-old Anene Booysen’s body was found just a few metres away from her home, a mere 300m away from where Jodine was found.

Jodine’s murder has sent shock waves through the small, tight-knit community, much as Anene and Manho’s deaths did. Anene died in hospital hours after she had been found. She had been raped and disembowelled in February 2013.

The man accused of her murder, Johannes Kana, was given two life sentences.

Fifteen months later, the body of Anene’s biological father, Klaasie Speelman, was found on a rubbish dump.

He had been stabbed to death.

Tiffany Wentzel, 17, a teen from the community, said she had known Jodine and had “always seen her happy and smiling”.

She said the murder had scared her.

“Although I am not someone who normally goes out at night because there are so many tik addicts, I am scared of even walking during the day,” she said.

“Before Anene’s murder the only other murder of this nature was in 2000,” said Prins.

Other murders in the town include that of 15-year-old Elda Jaftha, who was killed by her 31-year-old Zimbabwean boyfriend Gift Sibondo in 2015. He was found guilty of kidnapping and rape.

In the same year, Kayde Williams, 5, was also killed.

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Weekend Argus