At the age of 92, the ouma of a murdered little girl only has two wishes — to be buried with the ashes of her grandchild, and for justice to finally be served after 11 long years.
But the grandmother of Veronique Solomons may never get her last wish.
The seven-year-old gir from Steenberg was abducted and murdered before her body was set alight, and her killer has never been found.
Her family keeps a picture of the pretty little girl in their lounge, right next to a box containing her ashes.
Those ashes will be buried with granny Joan Solomons some day.
Mom Patricia Muller, 37, vividly recalls the day her world fell apart on September 19, 2005.
It was just eight days before her eldest daughter’s eighth birthday. Sadly she would never see it.
Since her brutal murder, the family has held a vigil and a “celebration” on her birthday, praying cops would find the man who killed her.
Veronique, who was in Grade 2, disappeared after returning home from school.
She had flung her school bag over the fence and was last seen riding on a bicycle with a 48-year-old man who was known to her.
Witnesses described this person as about 1.8 metres tall, brown of complexion with a green tattoo on the left hand side of his face.
Two hours after Veronique’s disappearance, the charred remains of a girl were found by a homeless man in a bush in Zeekoevlei, 4.3km away.
On Veronique’s birthday, eight days later, DNA results confirmed it was her.
Police took the suspect into custody and his blood and clothing were sent for DNA analysis.
However, he was released, while the DNA results were still outstanding, and police have not revealed whether it was ever finalised.
Patricia is no longer with Veronique’s father, Elroy van Wyk, and has since married someone else. She has three children, Nikita, 11, Keano, eight and Kaylum, two.
The mom says she still has hope that Veronique’s killer will be caught.
“The day Veronique disappeared, there were children who saw her with this man, including a male witness from Lavender Hill,” the mom says.
“He had read about Veronique’s case in the newspaper and only realised she was the same little girl he had seen on a bicycle with that man.
“He said they were in Lavender Hill, this man was driving around with Veronique.
“He said he wouldn’t forget Veronique’s face because she looked so sad,” she says.
Patricia still wants to know what happened with the DNA tests. “I’m not even sure what happened really, just that there was a delay in the DNA or a mess-up,” she says.
“Veronique knew this man; he was like an uncle to her.”Joan has called on police to reopen the case: “The man who did this to her, he must continue to live, and he must suffer because of what he did to her.”
Eric Ntabazalila, National Prosecuting Authority spokesman, says the suspect was never charged and could therefore not be prosecuted.
“Nothing indicates he appeared in court or any prosecution took place. I would advise you to ask the police why they released him.”
Captain FC van Wyk confirmed the matter was still under investigation, but could not say why the suspect was released at the time.
Anyone with any information may call Grassy Park SAPS on 021 700 3929.