Stella killings: Mom of man accused of killing 2 teen girls says her son is 'not a demon'

2018-05-29 12:05
Sharnelle Hough and Marna Engelbrecht. (Netwerk24 via Instagram)

Sharnelle Hough and Marna Engelbrecht. (Netwerk24 via Instagram)

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The mother of the young man accused of murdering two teenage girls at Hoërskool Stella in the North West, said her son was "not a demon".

Xander Bylsma, 19, made a brief appearance in the Vryburg Magistrate's Court on Monday on two counts of murder, after the bodies of Sharnelle "Lallie" Hough, 17, and Marna Engelbrecht, 16, were found in their hostel at the high school on Saturday, News24 reported this week.

Bylsma's mother, Mercia, told Netwerk24 on Monday that her only child was "sensitive" and had a "kind heart".

She described him as loving, well-mannered and someone who treated everyone with respect.

She defended her son and said no one knew what had happened, adding that he "also had feelings" and was very "emotional".

Mercia described her son as "her life" and said that she was struggling.


Bylsma was thought to have been in a relationship with Sharnelle, which recently ended according to Netwerk24.

Netwerk24 also reported that, following his arrest, Bylsma said in a statement that he had murdered the two girls.

Following his appearance in court on Monday, the case was postponed to August 6 for further investigation.

Originally, no foul play was suspected when the two Hoërskool Stella Grade 11 pupils were found dead at the school's female hostel on Saturday morning.

The hostel matron found their bodies.

"Firstly, the matron found the body of the 17-year-old girl, hanging from the rails of the staircase in the hostel. She alerted the school management and the police were summoned," North West police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Amanda Funani told News24 at the time.

"Upon investigation, the police discovered the second body with a string around her neck [in] the hostel's bathroom."

Funani said a "thorough investigation" led to Bylsma's arrest.

In a Facebook post on Monday afternoon, staff at the girls' high school said they cherished the memories they had of the bubbly, smiling teens.

"We never thought for a moment that they would be taken away from us in such an unnecessary way," the post stated in Afrikaans.

"Our whole community is poorer and darker without your beautiful smiles."

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Read more on:    xander bylsma  |  gender violence  |  crime

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