She was a ray of sunshine - Klara's mom

2015-08-12 16:25
Klara Göttert (Twitter)

Klara Göttert (Twitter)

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Teen suicide: recognise the warning signs

2014-02-17 16:59

Did you know that 9.5% of non-natural deaths in young people are due to suicide and 20.7% of teens have considered attempting suicide? Check out this infographic on teen suicide in South Africa to learn the warning signs and how you can help.VIEW

Johannesburg - "There was not a more special child in this world."

These are the words of Liesl Göttert, whose 14-year-old daughter Klara's body was found at Northgate mall, north of Johannesburg, on Tuesday evening.

"She was the friendliest, most loving child with such a soft heart. She could not walk past a dog without giving it a hug. She was a ray of sunshine in everyone's lives," Göttert told News24 in an interview.

Although she earlier told other media that Klara had committed suicide, by late Wednesday morning she said new information had come to light and that she did not want to come to quick conclusions about her death.

The police could only confirm that an inquest docket has been opened.

The girl's body was found in the mall where she fell to her death on Tuesday evening. She was still wearing her school uniform. News that she was missing went viral on Facebook hours before her body was discovered in the mall.

"She was such an active child. She loved ice skating, she loved sport, she loved doing Parkour [a non-competitive art form involving running, jumping and chasing]."

Last day

Göttert said she did not want to go into the detail of her daughter's last day, saying only that she had "one or two bad experiences" at school that day. She was a pupil at the Deutsche Internationale Schule Johannesburg.

Principal Thomas Bachmeier expressed his "heartfelt sympathy" at her death in a letter posted on the school's website, but added that out of consideration for the family no further information will be made public.

Göttert has tried to trace back her daughter's steps and found out that she caught a bus to the George Lea Sports Park in Sandton, where she wanted to attend a Parkour class between 17:00 and 19:00.

She did not have permission from her mother to go to the class.

"Something happened there... I don't know what. Her best friend was also there. We have information that she tried to call someone and then from there she got a lift from an old man to Northgate mall. She told him some story about how she needed a lift."

Göttert said she has spoken to the man and he confirmed that he dropped Klara off at the mall.

"Initially it looked like it was a suicide but now new information has emerged but I don't want to pre-empt the outcome of the investigation."

Göttert - a former TV producer and currently a business communications and media strategist, whose clients have included President Jacob Zuma - said she wanted to send a message to all teenagers.

"If you feel depressed or angry or if you are having a bad day, remember it will pass and good times will come again."

- Health24: SA teens: High suicide risk

- Health24: Teen suicide: recognise the warning signs

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