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Janika Mello’s father says her murder ‘feels like a bad dream’

Marlon Koopman and the rest of the slain girl's family joined teachers and learners for a memorial service at Northwood Primary School in Mitchells Plain yesterday.

Pupils, teachers and family members gathered for a memorial service for Janika Mello on 4 September 2019. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The father of a murdered Philippi teenager feels as if her death is a bad dream.

Marlon Koopman and the rest of the slain girl's family joined teachers and learners for a memorial service at Northwood Primary School in Mitchells Plain on Wednesday.

Janika Mello’s body was found in her grandmother's backyard in Heinz Park on Sunday morning.

Koopman said it was surreal that his humble and friendly daughter had been taken away from her loved ones so brutally.

“It’s very hard. She loved to make jokes and laugh. I’ll miss her. This feels like a dream. I still feel like I’ll wake up and she’ll be here.”

Janika Mello, who was in grade 6 at Northwood Primary School, has been described as a respectful, hardworking child by her teacher Teri Dowries.

“We can’t believe this has happened. We are heartbroken and traumatised.”

While no arrests have yet been made police say they're working around the clock to catch the girl's killers.