‘My Poppie is safe with Jesus': Father of murdered toddler

By Jana van der Merwe
01 November 2016

Poppie was allegedly killed by her stepfather.

Six days after the death of his child, the biological father of murdered Poppie van der Merwe was still crying so much that he could barely speak to YOU.

“I am so tired. I have been through hell. I haven’t slept since Wednesday night,” said Christo van der Merwe (38), a diesel mechanic of Westonaria on the West Rand, when we asked about how he was doing in the midst of this tragedy.

People around the world are so moved by the death of the three-year-old blonde girl from Brits who allegedly died at the hand of her stepfather, Kobus Koekemoer (43). Kobus has now being charged with little Poppie’s murder.

“God, I know that she’s with you. Amen,” Christo wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday. He repeated this when YOU magazine spoke to him via the telephone. “I am consoled by the fact that my Poppie is with Jesus. I was so blessed…”

He told us how he saw her very rarely over the years.

Christo van der Merwe, Poppie's father. PHOTO: Supplied Christo van der Merwe, Poppie's father. PHOTO: Supplied

Lt.Col. Pelonomi Makau, provincial police spokesperson in North West, confirmed to YOU that the incident which caused Poppie’s death happened past Wednesday on a farm close to Mamogaleskraal outside of Brits, where the little girl lived with Kobus, her mother and brother.

Pelonomi says the post mortem, which lists all Poppie’s injuries, has not yet been made available but the toddler apparently had injuries all over her body. The little girl was declared dead upon arrival at the Brits hospital. The hospital contacted the police and Kobus was arrested that same night.

Many people are expected to show up at the local magistrate court when Kobus, who is facing charges of murder, has his bail appearance on Thursday.

Pelonomi says that as far as they know no previous charges of domestic violence have been levelled against Kobus in the North West province. She does add however that the family was new to the area after just having moved there from Hopetown in the Northern Cape.

The Facebook group Justice for Jayde, who campaigns for justice in the murder case of Port Elizabeth school teacher Jayde Panayiotou, also shared details and pictures of little Poppie on their page.

Kobus appears in the Brits magistrate court on Thursday.

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