Hennenman farm attack victim, Eddie Hills has sadly passed away, the family revealed on Wednesday morning. He had been declared brain dead on Monday.
His sister, Ruschelle Oosthuizen, said: “Thank you for everyone’s prayers Daddy and Baby Brother are now standing with Army Angels and they protect us from above. Love you ‘Wille honde‘ so much and remember your ‘varkhart‘. (Baie dankie vir almal se gebede Pappa en Boeta boy staan nou saam met Army Engele en hulle beskerm ons van bo. So Lief vir julle Wille honde en onthou jou varkhart.)
Eddie and his father were attacked on their farm in Hennenman, in the Free State last Friday 6 November. His dad, Pieter Hills (56), died on the scene after being tied up and shot. The South African Police Service (SAPS) reported that they believe Eddie walked in on the attack. SAPS said: “It is alleged that the farmer was attacked in the house and shot in the head, whilst the son was overpowered on his arrival and stabbed in the back.” It’s alleged the knife entered his lungs.
An employee who discovered the scene (after being called to investigate by Eddie’s concerned mother, Antoinette) said Eddie was lying in the kitchen, and it looked like he had put up a big fight. Eddie has been in critical condition, in hospital, ever since.
On Monday evening his family announced that he had been declared brain dead and that they were waiting for his “big farmboy heart to stop beating”. Yesterday the close-knit community and citizens around the nation prayed for Eddie and the family.
At around midday SA time on Wednesday, Eddie’s heartbroken girlfriend Marizanè du Plessis, said: “My bear, Our little brother, Our Eddie. You are at home my bear, waiting for us and sleeping softly ❤” (My beer, Ons boetaboy, Ons Eddie. Jy is by die huis my beer, wag vir ons en slaap sag ❤.)
Free State resident Jacques Pienaar, who appears close to the family, described yesterday (in Afrikaans):
“The clouds are packing together in the Free State. The heavens bless us with wonderful rain, but it is as if the heavens are crying about 2 farmers who had to pay with their lives. Boet, because they lived out their passion to farm; to be dependent on God each year for the rain He blesses us with. Uncle Pieter, the rain has fallen. And the grass is turning green. The tractors are roaring on the lands. The smell of wet soil is no longer your destiny. It’s going to be a beautiful year Uncle Pieter. Eddie… the cows are calving and giving life to a new generation. My heart hurts and I am angry, but yet my heart leaps like a young calf… You have been freed (delivered) from earthly evil. All I ask is that you take care of us now and guard us.
“Aunt Antoinette, Carmen, family and friends, we are all saddened by the consequences of the unnecessary act. Condolences. I celebrate the lives of two strong, great men, two true gentlemen…
“Rest in peace my uncle and Eddie. You will always have a special place in my heart.”
Four suspects have been arrested in the case, and police say more arrests are imminent. One suspect (a female) was released because of lack of evidence, another suspect died by suicide in jail over the weekend, the third appeared in court today and the case was postponed to 16 November, and the fourth will appear on Wednesday.
According to the DA, there have been over 10 farm attacks in the Free State in less than six weeks since 1 October.