Teen confesses to bludgeoning three children

2008-06-20 00:00

George — Blood-spattered leaves were the only indication yesterday morning that three young children were bludgeoned to death with a brick in a small forested gorge near a cemetery on Thursday.

A 16-year-old cattle herder appeared in the local magistrate’s court yesterday for the murders of Jermaine Geduld (3), Hendrolene Koetaan (4) and Adnill Pienaar (5).

Jermaine’s grandmother, Flora Geduld, said yesterday she left Jermaine at home at 3 pm on Thursday.

When she returned, Jermaine was missing. She started looking for him and came across the suspect on her way to the police station. He told her he had left the children at a nearby street corner. “Then I said to him, ‘But I feel as if you’ve killed my child’.” She also told that to the police.

Several people saw the suspect with the children on Thursday afternoon.

Police said the children were reported missing at about 6 pm.

“The investigating officer followed up on reports that the missing children had been seen with a cattle herder … After thorough investigation and questioning [of the herder] the children’s bodies were discovered at about midnight.”

Jurie Harmse, deputy mayor of the Eden District Municipality, said he spoke to the uncle of the suspect, who said the teen admitted to having battered the children to death with a brick.

Police spokesman Captain Malcolm Pojie could not confirm that Hendrolene was raped. “That is forming part of the investigation.”

Local people said the teenager locked another child in a wardrobe earlier in the week.

Yesterday morning a sombre atmosphere reigned in the home of Jermaine’s aunt, Anna Chembe, where Geduld, Jermaine’s mother (also Flora Geduld), Mary-Jane Koetaan, Adnill’s mother, and Rose Pienaar, Hendrolene’s grandmother, were gathered.

“I feel very heartbroken. He was living with me. There’s going to be a big void in the house,” said Pienaar.

Koetaan could not say much, just staring into space. Like Jermaine’s mother, she was at work when her child went missing.

Geduld jnr said “all kinds of things” went through her head when she heard Jermaine was missing.

“I could do something to that boy,” she said, referring to the suspect.

“My child was too small to be hurt like that.”

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