Friends of Melissa Jacobs (26) open up to YOU after the bodies of Melissa and her mother, Soekie Rademeyer Jacobs (62), were found just days apart in the Chapman’s Peak area in Cape Town.
Melissa was “an incredible person with a soft heart”, and her death was a shock to everyone who knew her, they say.
Lappies Labuschagne and Melissa had been best friends at primary school, and Sheri Ferreira was one of Melissa’s best friends at high school.
Horse riders found the young brunette’s body on Monday 1 November on Noordhoek beach, near Cape Town. It had apparently washed ashore.
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A second shock followed two days later, on Wednesday, when the body of Melissa’s mom, Susanna (aka Soekie), was found on the slopes of Chapman’s Peak. Soekie’s traumatised Yorkshire terrier, Shauna, had led police and emergency workers to her body.
Both mother and daughter had been missing since the previous Friday, 29 October.
Passers-by who’d been using binoculars to take in the view, noticed the little dog in the bushes about 60m below Chapman’s Peak Drive. They suspected something was amiss and called the police, who found Soekie’s body.
Sheri and Melissa were in the same circle of friends in high school and were both on the netball team. Melissa and her mom had always had a close relationship, Sheri said.
“The bond between Melissa and Auntie Soekie was incredible. They were best friends and very close. Auntie Soekie and Melissa were everything to each other. One could say they were like best friends.”
Sheri says she’s still struggling to come to terms with the double tragedy. “Melissa had a heart for the people around her.”
Sheri and other school friends would have coffee at Soekie and Melissa’s house as they lived near the school. Soekie also used to build puzzles with the girls.
“Melissa had the best laugh, and she was a very tall girl. She was a bubbly person,” Sheri says.
Melissa and Soekie would always greet each other with three kisses and were constantly telling each other, “I love you.”
“They always said it, even if one of them was just popping to the shops. Their bond is something that really stood out for me. We were like Auntie Soekie’s children in that home.”
Lappies says Melissa always put the needs of others above her own. “She always took care of herself last so that other people could be happy,” he says.
Lappies and Melissa had been best friends at Laerskool Generaal Alberts in Alberton, Gauteng, from Grade 1 to Grade 4, when Lappies and his parents moved to Cape Town. “Life took its course.”
They stayed in contact except for “two to three years” in high school, but they reconnected in 2010.
“We were constantly together at primary school and played together weekends. We spent breaks together at school and shared sandwiches.”
He says Melissa had “such a good heart” and was always trying to cheer everyone up when they were children.
They last spoke “about seven months ago” when he got a message from Melissa, asking how he was. She suggested they get together, but that never happened.
“I’ll always regret that I didn’t make the time to see her. The news of her death was a bitter pill to swallow. Though we hadn’t seen each other in a while, we always stayed in touch.”
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Lappies says though life gets busy, he and Melissa always checked in with each other.
“She was an incredible person with a soft heart. She was one of those rare people you don’t often meet.”
Lappies says Melissa lit up the room when she walked in, and she made friends easily.
“It was a tragedy to hear the news. I believe she’s in a better place.”
The police haven’t yet released any information about the circumstances of the women’s deaths.