Letters may give clues - Family of woman accused of baby’s murder won’t pay for her funeral

2013-08-28 00:00

THE family of a woman who was found dead at a Port Edward home and who stood accused of murdering her infant child, won’t pay for her funeral.

No foul play is suspected in Juanita Oldewage’s death.

Investigators are hoping that a series of letters she had written prior to her death may provide clues as to why she took her life and add further information into the death of her child.

Juanita (28) and her estranged husband Christiaan Oldewage (27), were facing a charge of murdering their son Christiaan jnr in December 2012, just three weeks after the baby boy was born. They were both expected to appear before the Pretoria high court on December 2 for trial. Christiaan is currently in custody pending the trial.

The state claims that both parents beat the child to death or allowed him to be beaten to death.

Mike Bolhuis, a private investigator hired by Juanita to help prove her innocence just days after the child was found dead, told The Witness her family had abandoned her and as a result were not interested in paying towards her funeral costs.

“Her current partner on the South Coast is the only person who is showing great compassion during this period,” said Bolhuis.

He said Juanita had already tried to commit suicide since being charged, having used a mixture of drugs and alcohol to help complete the task.

“I anticipated she would attempt to take her life again. I informed those close to her but there is only so much they can do. After all she was an adult.

“Just like the first time she tried to take her life, I am informed she wrote several letters beforehand. I am hoping to get hold of these letters, which will hopefully provide insight into what actually transpired leading up to the child’s death.

“We urged her to enter into a plea bargain but she was adamant the death was not her or her husband’s fault,” said Bolhuis.

According to sister paper Beeld Juanita left Pretoria for Port Edward to escape the “paparazzi”.

She had been working as a bookkeeper at a bottle store operated by her partner. Bolhuis said she was not welcomed into the small Port Edward community.

Her advocate, Port Sheptsone-based Carlo Viljoen, said just three days before Juanita’s death he had withdrawn from her case.

“There were a number of issues, which I cannot disclose. However, one of them was her inability to pay for our services,” said Viljoen.

He confirmed that Juanita had been shunned by family and friends and portrayed as “a monster” in the press. However, he said there was sufficient evidence proving her innocence.

South Coast police media liaison officer Captain Gerald Mfeka said Port Edward police responded to the call from Juanita’s boyfriend’s home.

“She was already dead. Details are sketchy at this point. Port Edward detectives are investigating a inquest docket,” said Mfeka.

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