WALVIS BAY – The loved ones of Shannon Wasserfall say they were relieved after forensic experts positively identified her more than six months after her disappearance. Following her formal identification, the family will now prepare to lay her to rest, with a meeting this weekend to finalise arrangements for what is expected to be an emotional sendoff.
Police yesterday identified the remains that were discovered last week Tuesday in a shallow grave at Walvis Bay as that of Shannon. Her missing person case was changed to murder following the discovery of her remains that resulted in the arrest of her friend Azaan Madisia (28) in connection with her murder last week.
The head of the police’s Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID), Commissioner Moritz !Naruseb, yesterday said Shannon was identified through partial fingerprints that were matched with those on her identity document.
Her father Tega Matheus yesterday told New Era that the news brings bittersweet relief for the family that have been waiting since the discovery for the dreadful news.
“At least we can now plan to lay our beloved daughter to rest and start our healing process. Losing a child is never easy and nothing prepares you for that,” he said.
He added he will be travelling to Walvis Bay over the weekend where the family will meet on Saturday to discuss the final arrangements for her burial.
“No parent wants to bury his or her child. It is custom that children bury their parents and not the other way around. It is sad that my daughter’s life ended this way. The whole family is in pain,” Matheus explained. According to Matheus, the family after the funeral will focus on getting justice for their daughter. “That is the next chapter. We know it will open up wounds as the case goes on, but we will push through and get her the justice she deserves,” he said.
Meanwhile, labour minister Utoni Nujoma, urban and rural development deputy minister Derek Klazen, Erongo governor Neville Andre and Walvis Bay mayor Immanuel Wilfried visited the bereaved family at Tutaleni yesterday. Nujoma told the family the whole nation was in pain for what has happened to Shannon and that the government is addressing the increasing incidences of gender-based violence.
“It is unfortunate that these crimes are perpetrated by our own children and family members therefore we need to increase our public education,” he said.
He added that a better collaboration is needed between law enforcement agencies and community members to combat domestic violence to avoid loss of innocent lives in Namibia. Shannon, a resident of Windhoek, went to Walvis Bay in December last year and was reported missing on 10 April by her boyfriend and a friend when she failed to come home after dropping off her son at a friend’s house.