Today she has to go to the undertaker. She has to push her grief aside and suppress her tears. Her husband is dead and her four underaged children are fatherless. No words can describe how broken she feels.
The dreams they’d had are now destroyed. In its place, many unanswered questions about what had led to her husband’s recent death, says Clarissa van Staden (39) from Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng.
Last week, a search was launched for Johan “Galoopy” van Staden (36) after Clarissa and other family members couldn’t reach him on his cellphone. Friends of Johan, a businessman who owns an auto repair shop, posted on social media that he’d last been seen near Meyerton in his Volkswagen Amarok bakkie.
By 3pm on Thursday 26 September Clarissa got the shocking phone call. Johan’s body had been found in his bakkie. He’d been shot in the head. But no one knows exactly what happened.
“My husband was ripped away . . . And we don’t know why,” Clarissa told YOU yesterday.
“We have four underaged boys whom I have to raise alone now. And he’ll never see them grow up.”
Johan has two sons from his first marriage, Johan Jnr (15) and John Thomas (13). He raised Clarissa’s son, Rico (12), as his own and the couple have a two-year-old, Kyle Dehan.
Yesterday, police spokesman warrant officer Simon Mofokatsana told YOU there’s still no clarity about the events leading up to Johan’s death.
Police are investigating the case as wrongful death. A truck driver had witnesses Johan’s vehicle swerving across the road, Mofokatsana says. He’d tried swerving but Johan’s bakkie hit a back wheel of the truck. The bakkie ended up half in a ditch, where the truck driver found Johan’s lifeless body inside.
Asked if police suspect foul play – such as a hijacker being in the bakkie with Johan – Mofokatsana says, “We’re not excluding any possibilities but at this point police don’t suspect any foul play.”
While they await answers, family and friends are supporting Clarissa and the boys during this difficult time, says Clarissa’s friend Chantelle van Zyl.
“She’s not alone – and that’s all that matters. Last night, she and the boys for the first time chose to sleep in their home. I think it was good for them,” Chantelle says.
Last week, the boys received trauma counselling. Chantelle says the family feel they can’t make peace with Johan’s death because there are still too many questions.
“His death is an incredible shock to them. There are many questions and few answers. We’re speechless.”
Johan’s friend Shawn Delport says his friend’s loved ones have been shattered by his death.
“Galoopy was a family man. His wife and children were everything to him. He loved his wife deeply and worked incredibly hard to provide for them. He was one of those people who’d worked himself up from nothing. And then it was all taken away in a moment,” Shawn says.
“We’re all heartbroken. I visited him three weeks ago at his workshop. I wish I’d stayed longer. It’s heartbreaking.”
Funeral arrangements will be announced later this week.