Murdered Poppie: Father and daughter’s heartbreaking phonecall

Louisa Koekemoer's mother, Susan Bothma, supporting her daughter in court.

Allegations that Christo van der Merwe, the biological father of the murdered 3-year-old Poppie van der Merwe, previously mentioned that he was never happy with his ex-wife, Louisa, as a mother, have come to light.

Three-year-old Poppie van der Merwe.

Three-year-old Poppie van der Merwe.

Poppie died in hospital on Tuesday, 25 October, after the alleged attack on her. Pathology reports indicate that she died of a blunt force trauma to her head and that her injuries were consistent with those of extensive child abuse.

A heartbreaking voice recording of a telephonic conversation between Poppie and her father surfaced recently.

In the audio, Van der Merwe’s love for his daughter is clearly audible, as is Poppie telling her father that she is watching television. She also says that she is still small, and sings ‘Hansie Slim’. Van der Merwe was allegedly only allowed to phone his children every second Sunday, which is why he recorded the message.

On Tuesday, 10 January, the Herald spoke to Van der Merwe’s new spokesperson, who confirmed that the voice recording was made on Sunday, 31 July 2016. Van der Merwe apparently always recorded his phonecalls.

Jacobus Ludick – an activist for Poppie, with the investigating officer, Sergeant Gift Motumi.

Jacobus Ludick – an activist for Poppie, with the investigating officer, Sergeant Gift Motumi.

Shortly after Poppie’s death, her stepfather, Kobus Koekemoer, was arrested. He was subsequently denied bail after appearing in the Brits Magistrates’ Court.

The Herald attended Poppie’s funeral, where Christo van der Merwe was seen screaming and crying, as he sat in the front row next to friends and relatives. Louisa Koekemoer was also there, with her mother, Susan Bothma. Louisa’s face, which showed that she had recently been beaten, was expressionless throughout the service.

After the funeral, allegations were made that Poppie’s five-year-old brother, who was living in the Koekemoer household at the time of Poppie’s death, had also been kidnapped, but Van der Merwe’s spokesperson at that time denied them, saying the child was in safe custody with relatives.

The kidnapping and assault of Louisa Koekemoer, which allegedly occurred on 2 November, shortly after Poppie’s death, is now also being questioned.

Louisa Koekemoer on the day she was arrested, outside the police station.

Louisa Koekemoer on the day she was arrested, outside the police station.

Louisa Koekemoer told a local magazine her side of the story not long after Poppie’s death, and said she had not realised that things would go as far as they have. She confirmed that a case had been opened against them at Social Services in Orania, where she and Kobus met and got married. Shortly before Poppie’s death, they moved to Mamogaleskraal, near Brits.

In a shocking turn of events, and as a result of thorough investigation, the investigating officer, Sergeant Gift Motumi, arrested Louisa Koekemoer on 15 December on a charge of murder. She also appeared in the Brits Magistrates’ Court, where she was also denied bail. Her mother, Susan Bothma, was there to give her daughter support.

The Van der Merwe family now has a new spokesperson, who is supporting Christo in every way possible. According to him, “Kobus Koekemoer said he is relieved that Louisa had been arrested, because now the truth could come out”. He also told the Herald that Christo is seeing a psychologist in Vryburg, to help him deal with his tragic loss, and has the full support of his employees, the community and friends.

The scene at the Brits Magistrates' Court, when Louisa Koekemoer appeared for the first time.

The scene at the Brits Magistrates’ Court, when Louisa Koekemoer appeared for the first time.

One of the Koekemoer family’s neighbours has allegedly spoken of constant fights in the Koekemoer household. Allegations of pornography and sexual assault have also done the rounds.

One common denominator between Kobus Koekemoer and Christo van der Merwe’s statements, is that Louisa was always the one who told them to ‘reprimand’ the children.

Reports that Gerrie Nel could possibly be handling this case also surfaced, but have not been confirmed.

Also read

Poppie at rest, but SA is outraged

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Mother of murdered Poppie arrested

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