Twelve dead: 3 family tragedies

Posted on | april 21, 2011 | No Comments

Volksblad journalist Karen Ebersohn interviewed close friends of the four-member Afrikaner farm family, found dead inside their bakkie on their farm Wonderboom in the Richmond district of the North Cape. Their friend have more questions than answers about their mystery deaths.

The entire four-member Theron family was found dead with gunshot wounds to their heads early on Monday-morning by one of their farm workers. Mr David Theron, 58, was found dead seated in his bakkie with a .357 magnum revolver on his lap. Police ‘are not investigating any suspicious deaths’. Found shot to death were Theron, described as a ‘successful Northern Cape farmer’; his frail, ailing wife Cornel (39), and their two daughters Mikaila (8) and Cara (6), both pupils at the Oranje Afrikaans primary school.

Mr David Theron, 58, was found dead with a headshot: a .357 magnum revolver was found neatly placed on his lap. His children and his wife’s bodies, each with a shot to the head were found hidden underneath piles of clothing.SAPS lt-col Hendrik Swart said the farm-worker who found the Theron family in their bakkie noticed that Mr Theron did not respond to his calls, and immediate fetched Mr Theron’s brother and contacted the De Aar police. “The De Aar police opened the bakkie and noticed that Mr Theron was dead with a large pile of clothing and jackets next to him and a .357 magnum revolver on his lap. When the clothes were moved the two children, each with a headshot, were found dead. Mrs Theron’s body was found on the back of the bakkie hidden underneath a pile of clothing. She also had a headwound.

Family friends Johan Pretorius, a Bloemfontein photographer, and Mrs Bettie Jansen of De Aar, both were quoted as saying that the Theron couple were ‘gentle people who radiated much kindness and warmth”; and that the event simply did not “match the dynamics of this family”. Both said that the Theron couple had been dedicated to their daughters and were good parents.

Mrs Jansen, who has known the family for many years, said Mrs Theron suffered from chronic, painful and delibitating health problems: fibrosis of the lungs and systemic lupus. “She was very ill but would never let it get her down’. Mrs Jansen often visited with the family on the farm, as did Pretorius, the family photographer who became a close friend over the years. “I am terribly shocked about their deaths. It’s horrific.’ David was one of the most amiable people he’d ever met, he said.

Rev Eric Botha, Dutch Reformed dominee in Richmond and also a family friend, said the couple were ‘incredibly gentle people’ and he was equally shocked by their deaths. He will lead the memorial service for them on Sunday 1 May in the NG Church, De Aar. The forensic examinations, and post-mortem results have not yet been completed and an inquest-hearing date still has to be set where the official death-causes will be established. The girls were pupils at the Oranje Afrikaans Primary school in Bloemfontein. Mrs Linda Theron, the children’s aunt, read a statement on behalf of the family expressing shock that ‘in the early morning hours, a much-loved, respected and successful farmer, David Theron, was found dead with the bodies of his wife and children on his farm. All four were shot to death’.

Mrs Theron, acting as the family spokeswoman, said she would not make any further statements until the police have completed their forensic examinations and post-mortems.

The family asked that their privacy be respected. Prof. Jan-Albert van den Berg, chairman of the Oranje school, said trauma-counsellors would be assisting their young pupils in dealing with the loss of their three school-mates in the two family tragedies.


Read more:
Death toll: 3,769 “white” farmers murdered up to December 23, 2010

AUTHOR: Adriana Stuijt
E-MAIL: a.j.stuijt [at]


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