07/09/2007 14:06 - (SA)
Virginia Keppler, Beeld
Pretoria - Three weeks after police had removed the charred body of Charlene du Preez, 16, from Arcadia, Pretoria next to a railway line, a friend of the family found her charred hand at the scene.
Estelle Botha, Charlene's mother, sobbed on seeing the mutilated hand.
The hand was found under rubbish along the Koedoespoort railway line, about 500m from the Scorpions' office.
Police must have missed the hand when they found Charlene's badly mutilated and charred body three weeks ago.
Botha couldn't believe her eyes when seeing her child's hand on Thursday.
'What will I tell her?'
"I had her body cremated on August 24.
"What will I tell her when I see her again one day about why I didn't bury her hand with her?"
"Must I have another burial?" the crying woman wanted to know from two policemen who were summoned to the scene.
"I'm so angry. They picked up my child like a dead dog and didn't even make sure they had all her body parts."
Charlene went missing on August 16 after going out to supper with friends.
Her burnt, mutilated and half-naked body was found along the Koedoespoort railway line on August 17.
Botha identified her daughter by the tip of her nose, the toes on her right foot and a mark on her chest at the Pretoria state mortuary.
"Her face was so ugly I hardly recognised her."
Corrie Botha, a friend who worked with Botha for years, heard about Charlene's death on Thursday for the first time.
"I visited her to sympathise and she showed me photographs of the murder scene.
"I went to the scene to see it for myself and to pray because I too have daughters.
"That's when I made the gruesome find," he said crying.
He called Botha, who rushed to the scene with her fiancé, Jaun James.
"It's my child's hand. I recognised her thumb. If the police test it, they will still find acrylic on her nail," said the mother.
The friend also found a semi-charred pornographic magazine wrapped in newspaper, mascara, a burnt bottle of nail polish and buttons. He handed it to the police.
He scolded the policemen on the scene and told them he would transport them in his own vehicle to enable them to do their investigation.
"I'm willing to give my time, because this cannot go on," he said angrily.
According to Botha the police questioned three people about her daughter's death, but had not arrested anybody in connection with the murder.
Police spokesperson captain Lukas Sithole said the hand would be taken to the state mortuary and that the police will discuss the incident with the family.