It has been a year since Martin and Teresa van Breda and their eldest son Rudi were brutally killed in their De Zalze Golf Estate home in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and still no one has been arrested for the crime. Their daughter, Marli, was critically injured and their second son, Henri survived the incident with minor injuries.
The Inquisitr followed the van Breda axe murder story in detail at the time and sporadically reported on the murders as news trickled through to the media. The last we heard was that 21-year-old Henri and his now 17-year-old sister Marli were getting on with their lives.
In two weeks, it will be a year since three members of the Van Breda family were killed at the De Zalze Golf Estate. https://t.co/MbBaKNPB5B
— CapeTalk (@CapeTalk) January 13, 2016
Marli miraculously recovered from the severe injuries sustained in the attack, but is still, to this day, suffers from retrograde amnesia. She will most likely never remember what happened that fateful night when her father Martin, 55, his wife Teresa, 54 and her 22-year-old elder brother Rudi were brutally murdered.
There was much speculation thrown around about the fact that Henri suffered such minor injuries with one report saying they appeared to be self-inflicted and that it took four hours for the van Breda’s youngest son to call the emergency services. Later in the year premeditation in the crime was suspected after a search of a cell phone linked to the family.
— Marnie O’Neill (@marnieoneill7) January 19, 2016
As time goes by and while the police might have suspects in mind, they are keeping that information close to their chests. While both surviving van Breda children were there at the time, Marli remembers nothing and it is unknown what Henri recalls about the attack.
In May 2015 it was reported that Marli had yet to see her brother Henri van Breda, the only one to escape the axe attack relatively unscathed.
Marli suffered an axe wound to the head along with a severed jugular and spent time first in intensive care, followed by a long stay in a rehabilitation facility. According to Marli’s curator, advocate Louise Buikman SC (ordered by the Western Cape High Court to speak on her behalf), the youngest van Breda is now doing “very well” in the care of relatives.
Saying Marli’s recovery was nothing short of phenomenal, Buikman said Marli is very well physically and is also coping quite well mentally over the tragedy, but that due to the retrograde amnesia it is “extremely unlikely she will ever recall the event.”
Buikman added that Marli started school again this year and is now in regular contact with Henri van Breda.
“She is back with her friends and enjoys school. She has regular contact with her brother, Henri.”
According to Buikman, reports in the media sometimes upset Marli, especially when the news outlets seek to publish personal information about her.
“The press conveniently seems to forget that Marli is a victim of a crime, and a potential witness in criminal proceedings.”
“In terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, her identity should never have been disclosed in the press. Details about her private life and her whereabouts are not in the public interest.”
At the arrival of the one year anniversary of the brutal axe attack on Wednesday last week, Ben Rootman, spokesman for the van Breda family said they did not want to comment at this stage and that the matter is in the hands of the police. Rootman said the South African Police (SAPS) “should be allowed to do their work without interruptions to ensure that the law takes its course.”
According to a report in the Independent Online, police continue to refuse to divulge any details surrounding the van Breda family murders.
Police spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut said this week: “In so far as the Van Breda murder case is concerned, our investigators have given it due attention.”
Traut continued by saying the case is also being monitored by provincial detectives and he asked the media to bear with them, as they cannot divulge anything from the investigation that has yet to be presented before a court of law.
Despite a year passing since the brutal attack on the van Breda family, Boet Grobler, estate manager for the luxury De Zalze housing complex where the family lived, has said that residents are still rattled by the triple axe murders, saying they are concerned that they don’t get any updates from the SAPS.
According to Grobler, while the secure estate has CCTV cameras, there are no cameras in use between the homes in the estate as this might invade the resident’s privacy, so nothing was caught on video at the home on the night of the attack.
Grobler refused to disclose whether any evidence found on the estate had been handed over to the police, but did say the estate had cooperated fully in the investigations.
Meanwhile, reportedly a docket for the triple axe murders is still going back and forth between police investigators and the prosecuting officials, and the police have been requested to dig even deeper into the case. Reportedly at present, the docket is with the National Prosecuting Authority awaiting a decision on whether anyone will be arrested for the crimes.
Meanwhile, a report in the West Australian speaks of bungled police actions in the case. The van Breda spent seven years living in Perth in Australia and had only recently returned to South Africa. Many of their friends in Perth are remembering the family, a year after the attack.
— 7 News Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) January 20, 2016
The report in the West Australian varies to those released in South African news outlets. They quote Giovanna Gerbi, an Eyewitness News reporter as saying the police had pulled a “tight net” around the investigation to stop details leaking out and that both the investigation and crime scene had been “bungled.”
“We must remember there was talk that the initial police officers who investigated the case hadn’t done a thorough job, that maybe the crime scene had been bungled.”
On top of the crime scene being bungled, according to Gerbi, the Stellenbosch Serious and Violent Crimes Unit – the first officials to attend the murder scene – had suffered a break in and laptops and files relating to the van Breda case had been stolen from their offices.
It is theorized that the evidence lost in such a robbery could possibly have aided investigations, and possibly led to the arrest of the person who so brutally attacked the van Breda family.
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