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  • Stellenbosch tragedy: Top SA journalist mourns granddaughter, 18

    Stellenbosch tragedy: Top SA journalist mourns granddaughter, 18

    The tragic events which befell Ethan Kirkland and Leila Lees over the weekend have had a profound impact on the Stellenbosch community. The young couple were found dead on Monday, after their car plunged into a watery pit. A police investigation is still ongoing.

    So sad: Stellenbosch teens found in car

    The two teens were last seen on Friday night. Authorities had been working to identify where the missing couple went, based on their last-recorded activities. A bank transaction just before 23:00 was noted at the Catwalk Club in Stellenbosch.

    Then, CCTV footage captured the car outside The Niche apartment block at 23:41. The last trace of the pair was found on Ethan’s WhatsApp status, however. He was last active on the messaging platform at 23:45 – just four minutes after the final sighting of Ethan and Leila. 

    After being missing for the best part of three days, the alarm was raised on the corner of Bird Street. A Maroon Subaru was found in the large ditch, confirming the worst fears of the family.

    Photo: This is the street corner where the Maroon Subaru was found by authorities – Photo: Google Street View

    Max du Preez mourns death of young granddaughter

    It’s a heartbreak no parent nor close relative should have to go through. With their whole lives ahead of them, Ethan and Leila had each found a partner to share these experiences with. Alas, their time was cut devastatingly short.

    Condolences have poured in for the pair over the past 24 hours or so. However, one of the most impactful tribute has come from Leila’s grandfather. Max du Preez, an esteemed author and veteran journalist, shared a very touching message on Tuesday.

    • He wished there could be ‘more people like Leila’, while thanking friends for their support and love at a difficult time

    “How do I comfort my dear daughter? Our family is traumatised, we are struggling to come to terms with Leila’s death… I wish there more people like her. She was loving, warm, and vivacious. The support and love of our friends in Stellenbosch is greatly appreciated.” | Max du Preez

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