Justice system questioned

Michaela Williams, 12, was missing and found murdered close to her Pelican Park home.

The family of 12-year-old Michaela Williams have questioned the justice system after the killing of the Pelican Park girl.

Michaela was reported missing from her home in Crane Street in New Horizons, Pelican Park, on Tuesday January 7.
Her family, friends and the community searched for her for two days until her body was found in 9th Avenue in Schaapkraal.
Her mother Beatrice Adams said Michaela was playing at a friend’s house and came home just before 7pm, as she usually does.
“She came home and was sitting in the front room with her siblings and cousins and ate with them and then went to the front yard. It wasn’t long and I wanted to call her to tell her to take a bath and she wasn’t there. I waited for a while and then looked for her,” said Ms Adams.
Two hours went by and Ms Adams realised something was horribly wrong and she called the police. The family searched some more and called the police again at about 1am and police helped the search party.
“By that time I knew something bad had happened because Michaela is not the type to stay away from home and she’d ask me for permission to go to anywhere,” she said.
After frantic searches Michaela’s bod was found on Thursday January 9.
A 48-year-old man who lives in the same street was arrested for murder and made his first court appearance on Monday January 13. The case was postponed until Tuesday January 14 for further investigation.
Grassy Park police spokesperson, Captain Wynita Kleinsmith, said the man was arrested after all possible leads were followed.
“SAPS members who were following up on leads, got suspicious of a neighbour who was in prison for rape and was released about a year ago. This person was not at home for questioning, and a search for him was conducted. We were then informed of his whereabouts and took him in for questioning,” said Captain Kleinsmith. 

At the station the man confessed to officers that he had murdered Michaela and led police to the crime scene where he pointed out her body.

“It is believed that the deceased was strangled and thrown with bricks or blocks, and as a result died. The man was then arrested on a charge of kidnapping and murder.”

The man had been arrested in 2005 for the rape and attempted murder of an 8-year old in Tafelsig, Mitchell’s Plain. He was released on parole a year ago and was living with his mother in Crane Street.

Ms Adams said the man was known to the family and was a friend of one of their family members. “My question is how did he lure her away and how did no one see what he was doing? But Michaela knew him so she probably trusted him,” said Ms Adams.

Ms Adams said nothing will bring her daughter back but said the justice system failed their family.

“I don’t know what is going to happen but the justice system must not fail us again. He was out on parole after he raped another child. My child would have still been alive if he was still behind bars. Our lives will never be the same again,” she said.

Michaela’s aunt Erica Williams said the family and community are shocked, hurt and angry by her death.

“If we got hold of him we will kill him because why did he do this to an innocent child? What did she do to kill her in such a cruel way? Her face was smashed in. Why did he do that?” she asked emotionally.

Ms Adams said Michaela was a beautiful person, inside and out.

“She was loving, kind, and she was the most gentle child – no one else would be able to take her place,” she said.

Ms Adams thanked everyone who has helped the family through this difficult time.

The mother of the suspect’s previous victim was at Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Monday and said she feels for the family.

“The same thing he did to my child he did to her child. I hope this time he gets a life sentence and doesn’t come out again. The justice system failed us as a community and another family because if he was still in jail then none of this would have happened.”

Child activist Lucinda Evans said: “How many more children will it cost? How many more crime scenes of children raped and murdered will it cost? The question to ask again and again is if a convicted rapist is out on parole do we really believe they are rehabilitated? If a dog bites a child what do we do to the animal? We put him down.

“If a rapist rapes a child he goes to prison – behaves and comes out and rapes again.Why can’t we do the same as we did to the animal that attacked the child?”

Michaela’s funeral service will be held on Saturday January 25.