WALVIS BAY – The family of Shannon Wasserfall has made an emotional call for justice and better protection of women and children as news about the discovery of her suspected remains produced an instant outpouring of grief.
The suspected remains were discovered on Tuesday afternoon after an anonymous tip-off to the family and police at Walvis Bay. The family has called on the police to rope in all manpower to solve her suspected murder.
According to the police, the young mother of a two-year-old toddler boy, who was staying with her boyfriend in the Kabeljou area, went missing after she allegedly dropped off her child at a friend’s house on 10 April this year.
Sadly, her suspected remains were found in a shallow grave, just a kilometre from the Dunes Mall and a few metres from the bird sanctuary next to the C14 road.
Acting crime investigations coordinator for the Namibian police in the Erongo region, Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Gurirab, on Tuesday said the remains are suspected to be that of Shannon based on the clothes she was wearing when she went missing almost six months ago.
Chilling text messages
Her father Tega Mateus, who described the 22-year-old Shannon as a sweet family-oriented person, said he was sent two text messages from two different numbers anonymously last week Wednesday and Friday and forwarded them to the investigating officer. “The two messages made our worst nightmare a reality. I knew our daughter was missing but we expected her to come back alive. What worried me about her disappearance is the fact that she always stayed in contact no matter what. However, for the last months it was pure silence and that worried us. So, we have mixed emotions as we wanted her back but not like this,” Mateus told New Era.
According to him, it is puzzling how the anonymous tip-off could have been so accurate with the information as it did not take the police long to discover her remains on Tuesday. The numbers are now being tracked by the police.
“This was our biggest fear. Our hearts are in pain as nobody deserved what happened to her. We also know that she knew her killer(s) and it is only a matter of time before the truth will reveal itself,” a saddened Mateus said. He feels that somehow the person who tipped him off might be an accomplice, a witness to the crime or even the killer.
“I have a strong suspicion that she was recently taken to that shallow grave. Maybe the killer(s) had been blackmailed by someone who either saw them or someone they confessed to,” said the Windhoek-based Mateus.
‘Shannon knew killer (s)’
Shannon’s uncle Dennis Wasserfall yesterday also said that the family will rally behind the police to find justice for Shannon as they wait for the official confirmation after the DNA test. Wasserfall added the family feels Shannon knew her killer (s), hence the persons who last saw her alive now also have the responsibility to assist the police to bring justice for her.
“There were so many speculations and unanswered questions that do not add up from her disappearance. The puzzling leads that were given to derail her search. All those leads were somehow linked to the people that hold the key in solving her murder,” Wasserfall said.
He added they are just waiting for the police to conclude the post-mortem and DNA testing. According to him, they were hoping for the safe return of Shannon. “Unfortunately, the discovery of her remains dashed our hopes. Her parents, siblings and the whole family are battling to come to terms with her loss. It is really hard for the family as we had so many dreams for Shannon that are lost. She wasn’t supposed to leave this world in such a way,” Wasserfall said.
Friend thought she was arrested
Meanwhile, a close friend of Shannon, Emma Ashipala, also said that she was deeply shocked as this was not the way she was expecting her friend to come back. She told New Era she went to the police station the day after Shannon went missing to check whether she was arrested as the town was on lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Shannon could not even leave her son for a few hours, let alone a whole day. I knew something was not right as it was unlike her. She would have told me where she was going, that is how close we were,” said Ashipala who has been friends with Shannon since they started grade 1 together.
“I wish I knew who is responsible for her demise. Her death cannot be in vain. What are we going to tell her son one day.”
The police yesterday indicated that a murder case has been opened for the remains found. However, the missing persons case of Shannon will still remain open until DNA results can prove that the remains are indeed hers.
News about the discovery of the remains led to outrage on social media, while a demonstration has been planned in Windhoek today. Another demonstration was also held at Kuisebmond to demand justice for Shannon and all other women whose murders remain unresolved in the country.