Cape Town - Angry Mitchells Plain residents on Sunday burnt down a house where the body of a missing six-year-old girl was found. Shots were fired by the crowd who also flung petrol bombs at the house where the alleged killer was hiding. And police responded with flash bombs, rubber bullets and teargas to disperse people who bayed for blood.
Police have taken into custody a 25-year-old man who lives in a Wendy house on the property in De La Rey Street, Eastridge. The naked body of Stacey Adams was found buried in a shallow grave behind the Wendy house. Her bloody clothing - white tights, long-sleeved sweater and black slippers - was found in a wheelie bin standing near the grave.
The alleged suspect is the boyfriend of Stacey’s mother, Sasha Adams, 25, who arrived at the scene and started screaming, vomiting and crying after hearing her daughter was dead. According to police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk, on Saturday at about 9 am, Stacey’s grandmother had sent her over to her mother, who was living with her boyfriend in a Wendy house across the road.
However, according to neighbours, the couple had had an argument on Friday and Sasha went to Delft. “Her mommy was dating him and he was very jealous. She was living with him and Stacey lived with her grandmother,” said one woman. The child’s father, Dominic, is currently in jail.
According to the alleged suspect’s father, his son and Sasha had broken up. A crying Sasha said at the scene on Sunday that she blames herself for her child’s murder. She did not say why.
“Yesterday (On Sunday) morning the grandmother contacted the mother to get the child ready as she was going to fetch her. It was only then that they realised the child was missing,” said Van Wyk.
The family reported her missing at 3 pm, and less than an hour later, members of the Eastridge Neighbourhood Watch found her naked body. A member said the patch of ground next to the Wendy house looked “abnormal”, prompting them to inspect the area closely. They started digging and called for help when they unearthed the child’s tiny foot.
The man had shared the Wendy house with Sasha, his father and brother, while 12 people lived in the main house. In a tense two-hour long stand-off, angry residents demanded the suspect be handed over to them, but dozens of cops arrived to control the mob. At one point, three men jumped on the roof of the Wendy house and broke the windows of the upper storey room where he was hiding. The men tried to get in through the window but were unsuccessful.
Some men then threw petrol bombs, bricks and sticks at the house, which caught alight. The man’s Wendy house, as well as an adjacent property, caught fire. A police Nyala arrived and whisked the suspect away, as people pelted the vehicle with stones. Van Wyk says two officers were injured.
Shocked homeowner Margaret Bruiners, 55, says the 18 people who live on her property have now been left homeless. “I don’t know why the residents burnt my house and I had my grandchildren inside screaming with fear,” she says. Margaret says they have no idea why the suspect would kill little Stacey, while the alleged suspect’s father broke down in tears.
Stacey was in Grade 1 at Beacon View Primary School in Mitchells Plain. It is not clear how the child was murdered or if she was raped.