'Picture of Valencia's naked, bleeding body will stay with me forever'

2015-09-15 14:51
Sylvia Farmer (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Sylvia Farmer (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - Sixteen years after the horrific gang-rape and brutal assault of her only daughter, Sylvia Farmer still clearly remembers the gruesome sight of Valencia sitting naked and bleeding on a pavement in Eucalyptus Street, Eerste River.

“I have been trying to forget seeing my child sitting in a tiny ball, so small and frail,” she said.

“But I can’t. It’s a picture that will stay with me forever.”

And while the arrest this past weekend of another suspect for the 1999 gang-rape and murder of the 14-year-old is reopening old wounds, a part of her is content.

“The wheels of justice are turning. This is good. Everyone who did this to my child must pay.”

'What kind of person does this to a child?'

When a stranger knocked at her door early that June morning, Farmer had been fuming.

Valencia had not come home and the single mother had been unable to go and look for her, as she couldn’t leave her 5-year-old son alone.

“But when that man told me Valencia had been viciously assaulted and was sitting on the side of the road, my heart dropped. When he told me to bring her clothes because she was naked… I can’t explain what went through my mind.”

Less than a kilometre away, she found her daughter surrounded by Eucalyptus Street residents. Valencia was covered in a duvet and bystanders had made a fire to keep her warm while they waited for paramedics.

“Valencia was holding her neck. She had put her hand under her chin, near her ear and it struck me that she was sitting in a very strange position,” Sylvia recalled.

“I later realised that my daughter’s throat had been slit.”

She comforted Valencia until the authorities arrived a short while later.

“I spoke to her and told her that her mommy was here. But my mind was screaming ‘What kind of person does this to a child?’”

The teenager had been gang-raped by at least six men and stabbed 53 times.

Valencia was left for dead in a derelict house but managed to crawl to the street, where residents found her.

“I asked Valencia if she knew who had done that to her. She could barely speak, but she told me she did. That made me feel better – whoever had done this to my child would pay.”

Valencia died two days later in Tygerberg Hospital.

Cop 'never gave up on Valencia'

Six men were initially arrested for her murder. Glenville Faro and Franklyn Roberts received two life sentences each. They failed to get parole this year and would apply again early next year.

Russel van Wyk, who was 16 when he was sentenced in March 2001, got 23 years in jail. Both of his parole applications, in 2013 and 2014, were rejected.

Two others were released because they could not be linked to the crime. The sixth man was acquitted due to a lack of evidence.

But on Saturday, another man was arrested for the brutal killing.

“When I heard about the arrest, I had no words. No words,” Sylvia said, incredulous.

“All I knew was that I was blessed with a top cop who made it his mission to get justice for my daughter. Colonel Eddie Clark kept in touch. He never gave up on the case, and he never gave up on Valencia.”

The suspect, who was 21 at the time of the attack, appeared in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of rape and murder.

The matter was postponed to September 21 for bail information.

Read more on:    valencia farmer  |  cape town  |  crime

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