Tuesday, 16 November 2004

Farmer paralysed after attack

16/11/2004 08:50 - (SA)

Jo Prins , Beeld

Johannesburg - A Heilbron woman's hopes that her husband would one day walk again were dashed on Monday when she was told his spinal cord had been severed.

Jaun van Rooyen, 31, and Anri, his two-year-old daughter, were both injured by the same bullet after a hijacker opened fire on them.

The bullet penetrated Van Rooyen's back and lungs before hitting Anri in the stomach.

The shooting happened on Saturday afternoon while Van Rooyen, his pregnant wife, Renet, 30, and their two children were on their way home to their farm.

Van Rooyen had stopped along the road to pick up farm workers when a stranger appeared at his window and opened fire.

Van Rooyen tried to drive on, but after only a few metres his lower body became paralysed.

The men fled on foot, and Renet phoned for help.

Father and daughter were taken to a Vereeniging hospital, where an emergency operation was done on Anri.

Considered bringing in German specialist

Van Rooyen was transferred from Vereeniging Medi-Clinic to Eugene Marais Hospital in Pretoria on Sunday night.

Anri is still being treated in intensive-care at Vereeniging Medi-Clinic.

The family had held on to the hope that Van Rooyen's spinal cord was not permanently damaged.

They had even considered bringing in a specialist from Germany to do a stem-cell implant.

But, on Monday afternoon, an emotional relative, Erica Carstens, said a magnetic resonance (MR) scan had been done on Van Rooyen and it was found there was nothing doctors could do.

"It is very bad for us... Renet is in a state.

"We had hoped so much they would give us good news. It's really a very emotional time for the family."

Meanwhile, the family has offered a R25 000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.


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