The bones of little Tazne van Wyk have told the Western Cape High Court a chilling story about the cause of her death.
More than two years after the eight-year-old’s body was found in a stormwater drain near Worcester, pathologists revealed on Thursday that Tazne died after one hard blow to her skull, neck and chest.
Mohydian Pangaker, 56, stands accused of rape, murder and cutting her hand off on the day she went missing from her Ravensmead home.
The Grade 3 pupil from Eurecon Primary School disappeared on 7 February 2020, snatched just metres from her home in Clare Street.
Hundreds of mense descended on the Cape Flats community as they searched for the child who went missing without a trace.
Pangaker’s relatives told cops that at the same time, he also vanished and went on the hunt for him.
He was arrested in Cradock in the Eastern Cape on 19 February and while on his way to Cape Town, he showed cops where to find her body.
Pathologist Celeste Herbst told the court that Tazne’s body was badly decomposed and when the autopsy was conducted, they found a brown carpet and a piece of cardboard that covered her body.
She said that Tazne’s skull had two fractures and it is suspected that she suffered one hard blow to the right of her head and the pressure exerted caused a second fracture on the left side.
Herbst explained that she sustained a blow to her neck and chest, which caused the bones in her neck to break and fractured ribs.
Gasps were heard in the public gallery when she revealed that maggots had eaten Tazne’s genitals, making it difficult to establish her gender.
She said a swab was done for a sexual assault kit and she called Dr Jacqui Friedling, an anthropology expert, to confirm her findings regarding the left hand, which had been cut off.
Friedling told the court that despite the presence of maggots, Tazne’s pelvic bones revealed that she had been penetrated.
In an illustration, she showed the court how the cartilage had been damaged and explained this could only have been caused by an object being inserted into the child, or sexual intercourse.
Asked whether she could determine if Tazne was still alive when these injuries were inflicted, she said she could not.
Friedling said examining the arm where her hand was severed, showed that the person had used a sharp object to cut and twist the hand at the wrist before rukking the hand completely off the limb.
Earlier in the trial, Tazne’s mother, Carmen, revealed that several weeks before her disappearance, Tazne had injured her left hand and it is believed it was cut off in an attempt to make identifying her corpse difficult.
The trial continues.