WATCH: Another girl killed, another tenant held
Two men, one an uncle and tenant at the Manenberg home of brutally slain Charnelle McCrawl, 10, have been arrested and charged with her murder.
For Cape Flats communities already traumatised by a spate of child killings, the latest atrocity rekindles the pain of the case of three-year-old Courtney Pieters of Elsies River. A tenant in her home is on trial for her rape and murder in May.
The Charnelle suspects are due to appear in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court today.
Her home in Audrey Court was cordoned off as a crime scene yesterday as a police forensic team collected evidence including blood splatters in a backyard dwelling.
A sombre mood was palpable as police cleared the scene.
When the Cape Times arrived the suspects had already been taken to the Manenberg Police Station.
Police spokesperson Andre Traut said: “Two men aged 29 and 32 were brought in for questioning on Saturday and released.
‘‘Another two men aged 34 and 41 (were taken in for questioning).
“Detectives worked around the clock gathering physical forensic clues which have prompted the arrest of the suspects. The 32- and 34-year-old males have been charged.”
A neighbour, speaking on condition of anonymity, described Charnelle as a “humble girl”.
“She was also a lovely girl who loved to play with babies. She always had a smile and was well behaved. There were never any complaints about her at the school,” she said.
“Since she was three years old, she was involved with the church and did spiritual dancing. Her group did a dance item in her honour after her body was found on Friday.”
The child’s paternal grandfather Richard Basson told the Cape Times yesterday he couldn’t get much sleep “because every time I close my eyes, I see her”.
“They way she laughed and went on, making jokes, playing games, I am going to miss that,” he said.
“Killing her like that and throwing her on a field like a piece of garbage, that is not right. She’s a human being, everybody loved her.
“The night her mother told me she was missing I got a feeling I was never going to see her again.”
He said they were shocked at the condition in which they found the child.
His wife Gertrude Basson made the gruesome discovery of the child’s body, her face badly beaten.
“I still had hope she would be alive - maybe hurt but alive,” she said.
“The child did nothing to deserve a death like that”.
She was upset about many negative postings on social media about her granddaughter’s death.
“I am so hurt because there’s lots of speculation about her death. Social media is a dangerous platform.
“They put stuff on there without thinking how a person must feel. I found her body and for me I was devastated to see my granddaughter lying there,” she said.
She wanted the case resolved quickly to end the rumours.
She would cherish the memory of her granddaughter.
“There was always laughter and Charnelle would make jokes with her grandpa. She and my other grandson Ethan would fight over their grandpa, then one lays in one arm and one in the other. That’s how I remember her.”
The family was working on the funeral arrangements but were struggling to gather the funds needed, she added.
The parents were not available to be interviewed.