Timaru tragedy: Family and friends in South Africa ‘in shock’ over deaths of girls

Family and friends of the Dickason family are at a loss to comprehend what went wrong in the lead-up to the death of the couple’s three children in Timaru this week.

Twin 2-year-old girls Maya and Karla and their 6-year-old sister Liane (police said they had earlier given incorrect ages for the girls) were yesterday named as the dead children.

A 40-year-old woman has been charged and will appear in Timaru Court this morning.

The children’s grandparents, in South Africa, say the whole extended family is “in a state of shock” since hearing the news, according to Stuff.

“The extended families are in a state of shock as we try to understand what happened. We ask for your prayers and support during this very difficult time. We would also request privacy as we battle to come to terms with what has happened,” they said.

Those who know the couple describe the mother as “very humble” and “the nicest person”.

“I cannot comprehend what happened – she is a medical doctor and she wasn’t arrogant or anything like that. She was very humble,” former colleague and neighbour, Natasja le Roux, told the Sunday Times in South Africa.

“She was really just a nice person, she and her husband.”

The former neighbour said the couple had struggled to conceive their children and were dedicated and loving parents.

“They waited years for those children because she had troubles with fertility and stuff, so it really is a big shock,” le Roux said.

Another former neighbour, who did not want to be named, said the couple were very “grateful” for their children.

“They absolutely adored those children. They were so grateful for having them because they struggled to get pregnant and when they finally got the children, they loved them,” the neighbour said.

“Something just doesn’t seem right to us. We don’t know what happened. There is not a lot of information, but they are kind people.

“Something just doesn’t add up. I don’t know if it’s the stress from New Zealand, moving there, being quarantined for so long and everything – just not coping with that going on. So I think whatever happened is not normal, it wasn’t normal circumstances,” the neighbour said.

The family moved from Pretoria to New Zealand at the end of August. They had been in Timaru for about a week, after immigrating and completing their stint in MIQ.

A scene examination will continue at the Queen St address today.

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