Insurance mystery: plea to “dead” mom

By admin
29 January 2010

Nella Coetser (22) feels she’s trapped in a nightmare and can’t wake up. “I still don’t know if she’s dead,” she says.

She’s holding a newspaper clipping about a police investigation into alleged insurance fraud and a woman who was initially reported to have been incinerated in a wrecked car but who might still be alive. That woman is Nella’s mother, businesswoman Petronella Francom of Hazyview.

Last May Petronella’s wrecked and burnt car was found down a mountainside near Lydenberg, Mpumalanga. A charred body inside was presumed to be her. But further investigation showed the body was probably that of an unidentified child.

“What happened? And where is she if she’s not dead?” Nella asks.

The police organised crime unit started investigating into possible insurance fraud of more than R13 million involving seven policies taken out in Petronella’s name before the accident. Payout has been frozen.

Meanwhile Nella says her stepdad Clint Francom, Petronella’s third husband, has cut her out of his life since the accident.

“I don’t know how my mom died, where she is, who’s involved. All I know for certain is that I miss her,” Nella says.

“There are so many options. If she’s in trouble she might not contact me because she wouldn’t want me to worry about her. She could be alive but have been abducted and held captive. Or she could have been involved in this business and possibly murdered when things went wrong. I won’t pin my hopes on any of these options until I have answers.”

Nella feels she can’t say a final goodbye. “If someone was ill and died you could accept it. I’m still clinging to that little grain of hope that she might be alive.”

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