A family, recently returned from Perth in Australia, was attacked in their home in the De Zalze Golf Estate in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape of South Africa early Tuesday morning.
According to reports, 55-year-old Martin van Breda, his 54-year-old wife Teresa and their son Rudi, 20, were all killed with an axe. The couple’s daughter, 16-year-old Marli, was barely hanging on to life, and their second son Henri, 20, was treated at the scene for injuries.
When police entered the home, they found a blood-spattered axe, as well as a, 20-year-old man, who had scratches running over his arms. The survivor is reported to be the van Breda’s son Henri, and he is now being questioned about the attack.
According to IOL, there was no sign of a break-in, and the chairman of the estate’s homeowner association, Eben Potgieter, said it was not a home invasion. Potgieter called the attack “an isolated incident, confined to the scene of the crime.”
Potgieter did, however, say that he refuses to speculate on what happened and insists this is all he knows at the present time.
— Eyewitness News (@ewnupdates) January 28, 2015
Recounting what happened, Potgieter told the South African media that at around 7.30 a.m. a police car arrived at the security gate, wanting to check on the family’s home.
At this stage, it is still unclear who actually called the police, but Potgieter said that a domestic worker at a house opposite the scene of the crime had spotted a man speaking on a phone. She apparently noted that the man had blood on his arms.
Security staff then escorted the police officers to the house where they made the gruesome discovery. Potgieter said that he had not been inside the home and could not say what they found.
The Western Australian quotes emergency medical services spokesman Robert Daniels as saying it was clear that the family had been killed with an axe. An ambulance quickly arrived at the scene, taking Marli, who was in a bad state with wounds to her head and jugular, to the hospital. Daniels said that all he could say clearly at the time was that they were not shot and that they were axed.
“What I can say is they were not shot, the patients were axed. The daughter was rushed to hospital with severe head trauma and a severed jugular.”
“The other son had minor bruises on his arms. He was treated at the scene.”
According to Carla Hanekom, spokeswoman for the Stellenbosch Medi-Clinic, “We treated one patient, who is in a critical condition and is going to be transferred to Vergelegen Private Hospital. A neurosurgeon has been attending to the patient.”
Marli van Breda was reported to be in “critical but stable” condition.
Marli van Breda critical but stable after Stellenbosch attack http://t.co/3waaSRezFy
— SA Breaking News (@SABreakingNews) January 28, 2015
— YOU Magazine (@YouMagazine) January 28, 2015
Despite the fact that the incident appears to be an isolated case, neighbors in the upmarket security estate, where houses can cost around $1 million, are concerned about their safety. One of the residents, Jasmien Sevenster, said, “They hadn’t been living here very long.”
Standing in the quaint and attractive neighborhood with its white houses and perfect golf greens, she added, “It’s scary, you know, that it happened just on our doorstep.”
— Beeld (@Beeld_Nuus) January 28, 2015
A close friend of the Van Breda’s, 19-year-old Alexander Boshoff, said that they were a perfect family and that their families had often spent holidays together, adding, “They just moved back from Australia and had been back since June last year.”
Police spokesman Andre Traut said there had been no arrests so far. The 20-year-old son, Henri, is being questioned as a potential witness, and police will be investigating the crime as a triple homicide.
The news video below, while in the Afrikaans language, shows the area in which the crime occurred.
In other news relating to South Africa, the Inquisitr noted today that New Zealand’s controversial “Lion Man” opened a new park in the country.