The parents of Magdalena Stoffels have spoken of their ongoing despair of not being able to see their daughter again and the likelihood of never finding out who killed her in 2010.
Four years after Stoffels was brutally raped and murdered in a Khomasdal riverbed while returning from school, her father said the family have not heard from the detective who took over the investigation after the initial investigator was transferred to another town.
Stoffels was a Grade 11 pupil at David Bezuidenhout High School at the time of her murder, which sent shockwaves across the country. A calm Victor Ihuhua said the police are not doing enough in bringing to book the perpetrator who raped and murdered their 17-year-old daughter on July 27, 2010.
Ihuhua said the police do not bother to call or text to update them on the case.
“I have no faith in the police,” he said.
Ihuhua pleaded with the police to tell the family whether the case was an unresolved matter or a closed case. In 2011, the charges against Junias Fillipus - the only suspect arrested in the murder case - were temporarily withdrawn by Prosecutor-General Martha Imalwa, who found that the results of DNA tests did not link him to the murder.
The parents said this is very disappointing as no new charges have been filed against a possible suspect or suspects linked to her death.
Stoffels’s mother, Magrietha, said even though they have forgiven their daughter’s murderer, they are finding it difficult to move on because of the ongoing investigation and the remaining questions about the murder.
“In such a case I have forgiven the murderer. I left the case in the hands of the Lord. I didn’t want to carry it in my heart. But we are on earth and the responsibility lies with the police to make sure that justice prevails,” she said.
She added that just because the family has forgiven the murderer that doesn’t mean that the police should drop the case.
Magrietha said she and two other women who lost their children to crime get together twice a month to pray and talk. She said it helps to meet people with similar cases and share painful experiences.
The family said they are happy that the City of Windhoek has built a bridge across the riverbed where their daughter was killed.
“It’s a good thing what City of Windhoek did. People will feel safer now. Khomasdal residents should appreciate the gesture and take good care of it,” she said.
Asked about the fondest memory they have of their daughter, Magrietha said she misses her daughter most on Mother’s Day because she would have given her a card or something unique. She described her daughter as very talented and with strong leadership qualities. She said her daughter could have been at a tertiary institution now, studying to become someone in life.
‘Case not closed’
Khomas Police Deputy Commissioner Sylvanus Nghishidimbwa told Namibian Sun that the case is not closed.
“The case is not closed and it’s open for fresh and new information. It’s not thrown out - we are just waiting for new developments,” he said.
Asked why the police have failed to communicate with Stoffels’s family, Nghishidimbwa responded that “it was just a simple communication gap between the police and the family”.
“It is our desire and intention for the suspect to be arrested but this information needs to come from a member of the public,” he said.
WINDHOEK SELMA IKELA