Chad died on his own terms, family says after vicious attack

2015-07-13 15:29
Chad Baron (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Chad Baron (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - “Chad didn’t let his attackers take his life. He went on his own terms.”

After four weeks spent at her brother’s side, this is how Tania Baron-Baatjes and her parents on Saturday said their goodbyes to Chad Baron, 26, for the last time. He was in a coma since a horrific attack in early June, and has never regained consciousness.

And while she at times is unable to stop the tears, Tania tried to remain upbeat.

“He wouldn’t want us to cry,” she insisted. “Chad would want us to be positive and to celebrate his life. But it’s hard.”

The 26-year-old was hijacked on his way home from a party in Cape Town on June 8.

He was found by a boy who had been walking past an abandoned building in Camp Road, where his body had been dumped.

Chad had multiple stab wounds and had been beaten with a brick.

“The odds were stacked against him, but he still held on for a month,” Tania said.

Dad too emotional to talk

She lives in the UK, but flew home the day her brother, whom she describes as her “favourite person in the world”, was found.

“His tenacity and strength allowed us to spend four weeks with him. Chad could have died there that day, but he gave us the chance to be with him and tell him we loved him.”

Their father, Arnold, was too emotional to speak on Monday morning.

“I just came from identifying his body. I don’t have any words right now,” he said, almost apologetic.

On Monday, a photo of a beaming Chad was perched against a vase of roses on the coffee table in the lounge.

Tania wiped at imaginary dust on the white photo frame.

“He had such big plans. He was supposed to have left last month to teach English in Vietnam,” she said proudly.

“My brother loved life. He lived it. He saw all that was good in this world.”

‘We prayed at his bedside’

Chad was in a coma in Groote Schuur Hospital and never regained consciousness after the assault.

“But I know he heard everything we said to him. I believe that,” Tania insisted.

“At times when we prayed at his bedside, a tear would slide down his cheek. Chad knew we were there for him.”

He died on Saturday afternoon, shortly after visiting hours had ended.

Three men have been arrested in connection with the attack, and were charged with burglary, car theft, kidnapping and assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm.

Gratitude for police, little boy

The assault charge has been amended in light of Chad’s death, provincial police spokesperson Constable Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed.

“The [charge] will now be murder,” she said.

Over the last month the family chose to focus on Chad instead of those accused of attacking him, Tania said.

“I am grateful I got to spend the last few weeks with him.

“Gratitude is all I can give the police and the little boy who found my brother alive. Because of them, we were able to spend one last month with him.

“One of the most positive souls has been taken from this world. And he and God chose when the time was right for him to go.”

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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