The parents of Tazne van Wyk, 8, as well as those who searched for two weeks to find her, are reeling in the wake of her body being found in a stormwater pipe outside Worcester in the Western Cape.
"Tazne's mom [Carmen] is very devastated. She is broken, the father [Terrence] is also broken," said family spokesperson Bishop Adam Alexander on Thursday morning.
He said the couple were taken to counselling and were too traumatised to speak with the media. The mom was apparently receiving treatment for shock in hospital.
"We are all heartbroken, including the people who were looking for her and assisted us. Yesterday morning we all had the hope that she is alive and that she is somewhere."
The girl's aunt, Samantha Viljoen, told SABC News her death could have been prevented. She demanded answers from President Cyril Ramaphosa on who next would be released on parole to wreak havoc.
She said it was not right that families had to keep their children indoors while those who killed children were having a good life in jail, paid for by the taxpayer.
"We are very happy that they found her body so we can get closure," said Alexander.
"Some families in the area are waiting for over 25 years for their child to be found."
Tazne was last seen on February 7 walking to a tuck shop a few metres from her home in Connaught Estate, Elsies River, Cape Town.
Western Cape police said the suspect led detectives to the gruesome discovery late on Wednesday evening.
He was arrested in the Eastern Cape on Monday night and transported back to Cape Town on a kidnapping charge.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa added that the 54-year-old man would be charged with murder and is expected to appear in the Goodwood Magistrate's Court on Friday.
"As the investigation unfolds, the possibility of the suspect facing additional charges cannot be ruled out," she said.
A SA Women Fight Back petition calling for the court not to grant him bail was quickly gaining traction.
Moyhdian Pangarker, identified as a person of interest, briefly appeared on a kidnapping charge in the Cradock Magistrate's Court on Tuesday before being transported back to Cape Town.
In a telephone conversation with his sister, Nasma, a few days before his arrest in Cradock, Pangarker had denied to her that he kidnapped the child, according to Netwerk24.
After she explained that they were being terrorised back home because of all the allegations, he said he had been sipping on a frozen juice sachet at the tuck shop near Tazne's home and when he looked back, the girl was gone.
But according to the report, the sister said the tuck shop owner had told police that the girl was told to drink up and then walked away with a man.
Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, who had put up a R10 000 reward for crucial information in the case, said he had a heavy heart.
"My department are in the process of activating the court watching brief unit which will monitor the case for any inefficiencies relating to the SAPS' investigation, ensuring that the case is not struck off the court roll," he said.
The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) said it would also watch the case closely.
"If he was, in fact, given amnesty or pardoned, then the president has to answer to South Africa today," said ACDP MP Marie Sukers.