Anthony Erasmus
November 4, 2007 - November 6, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial

On November 12th of 2012, a tiny casket was lowered into the ground in a cemetery that seemed to be forgotten, evidenced by the fact that it was overgrown and seemed to be lacking any sign of maintenance. In a cemetery called Hartbeespoort Municiple Cemetery, Anthony Erasmus was laid to rest only two days after he turned five years old. Sadly, there were not many people in attendance for the funeral of this handsome, young Angel boy. Two brothers, six and four months old, his grandfather who threw dried rose petals onto his casket as it was lowered into the ground, his mother, Cindy Lee Janson, who was 25 years old at the time and his stepfather, Marko Barnard who was 29 years old at the time. Cindy was said to appear very cold hearted and unemotional about the death of her child as they lowered him into the ground, even knowing she would never see him again. As Anthony's casket was lowered, an unidentified voice was heard to say:

"My only comfort in life and death is that I belong to Jesus
Christ. With his precious blood, he redeemed me, that's my
anchor my firm hope. I now belong to Jesus. Nothing will
ever separate me from him. He redeemed me, that's my
anchor, my firm hope"

Rudolf Momberg, the Minister, read a message of love from Cindy to Anthony and she could be heard, though very faintly, mumbling a few words. Marko broke down crying and though it was not clear who he was speaking to,  repeated over and over:

"I love you, I love you, I love you"

Cindy and Marko had both been pallbearers for Anthony and in a note they told of how much they loved him:

"With grateful love and with sorrow, we say goodbye to a child.
On November 6, Anthony was taken away from all of us to a place
where we know he will now find peace after a stormy life. We might
not be harvested in the same season, but up there we will meet again
one day"

The face of Anthony was on the funeral program and though he seemed to be smiling, it was now obvious that he lived a life of horror, torture and pain. Anthony was buried less than 20km from where he lived and died. Sadly, the people who should have been angry about his death, his family, tried to protect his murderers from the media. Cindy's mother hugged her tightly while lashing out at Journalists who attended the service in the church:

"You people are disgusting, you have no shame"
Cindy's mother

"We can't believe this. It just cannot be that two such loving
and kind people could do something like this. It must be a
Family member

While I wouldn't want the media at my family member's funeral, I wouldn't call THEM disgusting all the while KNOWING what my own flesh and blood had done to my grandchild. Cindy and Marko and anyone who supports them, they are the disgusting ones.

Marko and Cindy turned themselves into the Police and it was reported that they could be seen laughing and walking while holding hands, swinging their arms as though they were walking through a park on a happy day. Cindy was asked how she felt and her response was not very friendly:

"This is unfair. I do not want to talk about something I have
nothing to do with"

Just a few hours later, Marko and Cindy were both arrested for the death of this precious boy. The couple was charged with child abuse and murder and would appear in court the same day that Anthony was buried. Anthony's two brothers had been taken into care into what were called "places of safety".

In August of 2012, a Medical Research Council report showed that three children are murdered each and every day in South Africa and that the person who is almost always responsible, is the mother of children who are younger than five years old.

Police reported that there didn't seem to be any love in the home at all for Anthony. An autopsy would tell a story of a little boy who lived a life of pure hell and torture at the hands of this woman and her boyfriend. It would appear that Anthony had been been suffering at the hands of these monsters for at least a year based on wounds that were both old and new:

"His genitals were used as an ashtray. His back was pockmarked
with burns"

The Policeman who reported this information said that he had not seen such a horrible case of child abuse in all of his years as a Policeman.There wasn't anyone who could say why this child had been abused, what he had done that was so bad that he deserved to die, other than Marko and Cindy, neither of them were talking about it.

Sadly, neighbors had heard Anthony crying and begging for help. Loud thumps could be heard coming from the home and a neighbor said she had seen Anthony many times with bruises and she had at times brought nappies to the family saying that she thought Anthony might be mentally disabled. Once again, none of the neighbors called Police or tried to get any help for Anthony and no one had a good enough excuse for not having done so.

Police Spokesman Captain Pelonomi Makau said that the parents had said that Anthony had began to vomit and he just collapsed and was dead:

"The little boy was found dead with head in juries, bruises on the
left side of his body, cigarette burns on his private parts and on
his back. Post mortem results showed that the child had a clot on
his brain"

One Police officer broke down crying saying that there was not one part of Anthony's body that had not been injured:

"His pain must have been unbearable, just thinking about it makes
me sick. What happened to love and kindness of parents"

In a report called "Child Homicide Paterns", the study looked at 1018 murders of children in 2009 and 44% of them were murders of children due to neglect or abuse and the majority of those were girls under the age of five. Shanaaz Mathews, the Director Of the UCT Children's Institute said:

"This is the tip of the problem when it comes to child abuse. Most
cases of child abuse do not end up in murders, but so many murders
are taking place. We do not know the prevalence. There are no systemic
studies to quantify the abuse"

Shanaaz Mathews said that this was due in part to the fact that cases of abuse are not reported to the Police, but instead are reported to Social Services. Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Center researcher and policy analyst Lisa Vetten said that in adequacy in the Police and with Social Service workers was a major factor in their lack of solved cases:

"There is a horrible mismatch between these two entities. Most cases
are reported during weekends or after hours when Social Workers are
not available for referrals or take a long time to do so"

South Africa is reported to have over 15,000 registered Social Workers, but Shanaaz Mathews said:

"Many who worked with children were doing foster grant applications
and department of social development child grant applications and not
helping families in crisis"

In February of 2013, Cindy Lee Jansen was in court seeking bail. Warrant Officer Apam Motsepe was testifying for the state when he burst out crying as he told of the abuse that was apparent on the body of Anthony. A petition had been sent out and over 10,000 signatures were signed by protesters who did not want to see this couple go free on bail. It was argued that Marko had another child to support and should be let out on bail to be able to do so. Ethan was being taken care of by Marko's parents, however, it was stated that they were not able to take Marko into their home should he get bail. Cindy's family was also not able to take her in should she get bail. Bail was denied.

During this hearing it was reported that Anthony was found on the floor and when his clothing was removed his body was full of bruises. When asked what was used to discipline Anthony and his siblings, Marko took them outside and in the bushes he pulled out a long, flat yellow stick. It also came out in court that Anthony and his brother Stefan, who was older, had been removed from the home several times but had always been returned.

Anthony's grandmother, Sonja Erasmus had been the one to start the petition and she visited his grave along with Stephanie Bentely who was now caring for Ethan and Stephan:

"I started the petition to protect Stefan who is now in his father's care and
who is the only eyewitness"

Typing out what Sonja said, brought tears to my eyes. I can't imagine being six years old and witnessing the abuse and death of my sibling. I hope everyone will pray for this child to manage this over his lifetime without it having a lasting, negative affect on him.

In March of 2014, Cinidy Lee Jansen was in court and admitted that she had killed her son, Anthony Eramus only two days after he had turned five years old. Marko Barnard plead guilty to manslaughter. A plea bargain was met where Cindy plead guilty to  murder and child abuse, she was 27 years old at this time. Marko Barnard, who was 30 years old at the time, plead guilty to charges of manslaughter. Each had claims against the other and while Cindy admitted that she had hit Anthony's head against the floor, Marko said that she often hit his head against the walls of their home. An autopsy showed that Anthony died of a brain hemorrhaging.

In court, it came out that Cindy felt Anthony had been stealing food and this was reason he had suffered so horribly at the hands of her and Marko:

"His only sin was that he was hungry"
Judge George Webster

I am not familiar with laws in Africa, but they make no sense to me. It is reported that Marko's Lawyer offered that he would serve 12 years in prison with two years suspended for five years, whatever that means. Cindy's is said to have "offered" to serve 18 years. Judge George Webster postponed sentencing saying he needed time to consider these plea-bargains:

"These are very serious crimes that lead to the loss of a very young life"

In June of 2014, Judge George Webster said that Anthony had died as a result of brain hemorrhages and the other injuries sustained during the beatings and abuse he was given by Marko and Cindy:

"He did not die from injuries inflicted on one occasion, but on multiple occasions"

Testimony had shown that Anthony was beaten with belts, sticks and hands and that he had fainted at least three times because the beatings were so bad that his little body couldn't handle any more. Cindy also didn't feed him, get him medical care and locked him up for long periods of time saying that he was "naughty" and she couldn't handle him any more that she broke under the financial pressure of supporting her family:

"Both accused have been found guilty of the crimes they were charged with,
which are crimes not expected of a sophisticated society and is a great shock
to society"
Judge George Webster

Defense and State entered into a plea bargain that Cindy would serve only 18 years and Marko would serve only 12. Judge George Webster, obviously a man without a heart, in my opinion of course, considered the agreed sentences as being extremely light, but turned around and sentenced each of these murderers to only 15 with three suspended saying that the courts were not bound by such agreements:

"Other factors overwhelmed and overshadowed the gross cruelty
of the accused"
Judge George Webster

I would LOVE to know those factors. A child is dead, he died a horrible death at the hands of two people who should NEVER get out of prison and you give them a slap on the wrist? Shame on you George Webster!!

My sympathies go out to Werner Erasmus, Anthony's father who said that judge had made a huge mistake and he was very upset about it because an agreement had been made between the defense and prosecutor:

"This is not right, he said that sentence was too light but then gave her
a lighter sentence. I am very heart sore, they took my child away, I will
never forgive them"

Sonja Erasmus wiped away tears when she heard the ridiculous sentences and stated that she was very unhappy:

"We accepted the plea bargains so that Anthony's brother, now seven, won't
have to go through more trauma as he was the eyewitness. His older brother
asks many questions, where his brother is, how many sleeps until he can see
his brother and when will he go to Heaven to see his brother"

Sonja said that Anthony's older brother had carried his body to his room on the day that he died. What a tragic thing to have to deal with for the rest of his life.

Thank you Karen for sending me this story and for your patience in the time it took for me to honor Anthony.

It is reported that both the Prosecutor and Defense will appeal this decision.
Death occurred in the South Africa

This page was created on November 18, 2016

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