The Herald (South Africa)

Emo­tional ser­vice for teacher

Pupils and col­leagues pay trib­ute to Theresa Buys who was mur­dered and thrown into river at Cradock

- Ri­aan Marais maraisr@times­me­dia.co.za Incidents · Jeffreys Bay

SHE only came to Cradock late last year, but Theresa Buys made a big im­pact on the lives of her col­leagues, pupils and friends in her new home town. Art teacher at Cradock Prepara­tory School, Buys, 43, was ab­ducted from her rented home on a farm out­side town, mur­dered and her body thrown from the Tams low wa­ter bridge into the Fish River two weeks ago.

While emo­tional friends, fam­ily and fel­low teach­ers at­tended yes­ter­day’s memo­rial ser­vice in the school hall, the for­mer Jef­freys Bay woman’s sus­pected murderer Mar­ius Isaacs, 25, ap­peared in the town’s mag­is­trate’s court.

The en­trance to the hall was dec­o­rated with draw­ings made by Buys’s pupils un­der a ban­ner read­ing: Thank you Mrs Theresa.

“We did not know Theresa very long, and when she first ar­rived it took a while for her to re­ally fit in. But be­fore long she crept into a very spe­cial place in all our hearts,” a tear­ful prin­ci­pal El­mar Heese said dur­ing the ser­vice.

Heese said Buys ar­rived in Cradock last year to take up the art teacher po­si­tion. A tis­sue of­ten ap­peared from her pocket to dry tears as she spoke to the crowd.

For the ma­jor­ity of the ser­vice Buys’s es­tranged hus­band Jo­han, wear­ing a white cap and sun­glasses, sat with his head bowed. It was dif­fi­cult to see his ex­pres­sion, but he of­ten rubbed his un­shaved face, or hid be­hind his hands.

To his right sat their daugh­ter Katja, 16, who showed very lit­tle emo­tion, and to his left sat Theresa’s mother Ju­lianna Marais, who fre­quently wiped tears from her face.

When time came for Marais to thank those in at­ten­dance she had to stop and compose her­self more than once. “Each one of you sit­ting here to­day touched Theresa’s life in your own spe­cial way, and I hope she touched each one of you in an equally spe­cial man­ner.”

In the mean­time, in less than ideal con­di­tions, the search for Buys’s body con­tin­ued on the icy cold Fish River, where of­fi­cers of Cradock’s K9 search and res­cue team scoured the 50km from the Tams low wa­ter bridge to the Elands­drift Dam.

To­day marks ex­actly two weeks since the search for Buys started, af­ter she was ini­tially re­ported miss­ing.

War­rant Of­fi­cer Jac­ques Swartz, along with his dog Thabo, pad­dled down the river in an in­flat­able ca­noe.

Swartz con­stantly looked over the side, pok­ing at un­der­wa­ter de­bris with his pad­dle, while Thabo sniffed the air for any scent that might lead them to a body.

War­rant Of­fi­cer Carl Arendt and Lieu­tenant Jackie Smith as­sisted from the river bank. Ear­lier, teams from all over the province as­sisted in the search.

When wa­ter vis­i­bil­ity was at its best a search he­li­copter was also em­ployed, but with lit­tle suc­cess.

Of­fi­cers did, how­ever, re­cover another body dur­ing the search, that of a man who went miss­ing about a month ago. This is be­ing treated as a ac­ci­den­tal drown­ing.

Po­lice spokes­woman Cap­tain Stefanie Smith said search ef­forts had been scaled down as hopes of find­ing her dwin­dled.

 ?? Pic­tures: BRIAN WIT­BOOI ?? SAY­ING IT WITH SONG: The Cradock Prepara­tory School choir per­forms at the memo­rial ser­vice for teacher Theresa Buys
Pic­tures: BRIAN WIT­BOOI SAY­ING IT WITH SONG: The Cradock Prepara­tory School choir per­forms at the memo­rial ser­vice for teacher Theresa Buys
 ??  ?? SCOUR­ING RIVER: War­rant Of­fi­cer Jac­ques Swartz and po­lice dog Thabo search for Buys’s body
SCOUR­ING RIVER: War­rant Of­fi­cer Jac­ques Swartz and po­lice dog Thabo search for Buys’s body
 ??  ?? TEAR­FUL TIME: Cradock Prepara­tory School prin­ci­pal El­mar Heese at the ser­vice
TEAR­FUL TIME: Cradock Prepara­tory School prin­ci­pal El­mar Heese at the ser­vice
 ??  ?? BRAVE FACE: Buys’s mother, Ju­lianna Marais
BRAVE FACE: Buys’s mother, Ju­lianna Marais
 ??  ?? THERESA BUYS
THERESA BUYS

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