Potchefstroom - Shortly before she was murdered on her North West farm, Elsa Erasmus had put flowers from her garden at the spot where her husband had died.
She'd often said she was being taken to task for staying on the farm on her own after Hendrik Erasmus died three years ago, the Reverend Theuns Steyn of the NG Church's Amalia congregation, where Elsa was the secretary, told Netwerk24.
"She said, however, that it's where she wanted to be and that she felt safe and calm there."
Hendrik and Elsa had lived on the farm in the Amalia district, near Schweizer-Reneke, since their wedding in 1968.
Robbers killed and possibly also raped 74-year-old Elsa just hours after she'd placed the flowers at the place where her husband had died. Whether she was raped and the exact cause of death will only be determined during the post mortem, police spokesperson Sergeant Kelbogile Moleko said.
By Monday afternoon, no one had been arrested yet.
Her naked body was found just a few kilometres from the farm house on Sunday morning. Her hands were tied behind her back and she was lying, face down, near a pool of blood. A source said she'd apparently been shot with her own firearm.
"She was savagely assaulted," said the source.
The robbers made off with, among other things, her .22 gun which had been in a safe in the farm house.
Family, farmers and the police had started searching for her on Saturday afternoon when they couldn't get hold of her by phone.
Andre Pienaar, a farmer who'd taken part in the search, said they'd found the bunch of fresh flowers at the corner post where Hendrik Erasmus had died.
He'd had a heart attack and driven into the post.
"We had seen the same flowers in Elsa's garden.
"The killers had broken into the house during the day on Saturday. It's suspected that they had been waiting for Elsa to return from the veld to lay the flowers and put out lick for her cattle."
The burglar bars on the window had been forced open and the electricity switched off.
The house was turned upside down when those concerned about her welfare went there on Saturday afternoon. Erasmus and her Toyota bakkie were missing and the police and farmers from as far afield as Vryburg and Kimberley joined the search. Even private helicopters were used.
The deserted bakkie was found on Sunday morning, a few kilometres from the house. Her body was spotted from a helicopter a few hours later, about 300 metres from the bakkie.
The Reverend Steyn said the community was traumatised and Erasmus's children distraught.
"We will only be able to arrange the funeral once the post mortem has been done."
A farmer in the community said they were disheartened by the spate of farm attacks in North West since May, in which three people had died.
"We want to go to Parliament and will start taking the law into our own hands and shooting anyone we find in our homes. It feels as though the police are failing us."
*BC Greyling was shot dead on his farm near Sannieshof and his wife, Marlette wounded in May. Hanno Steyn was shot dead on his farm near Lichtenburg in June. Also in June, Blackie van den Berg was raped and assaulted on her farm near Sannieshof.