"They seemed so happy, what happened? Axe murder mystery
FRIENDS have described the victims of a brutal South African triple axe murder as a "close-knit, happy and successful" family who dreamed of one day returning to their Buderim home.
Martin van Breda, 54, his wife Teresa, 55, and son Rudi, 22, were found dead on Wednesday at De Zalze Winelands Golf Estate, an exclusive golf resort about 50km east of Cape Town.
Their 16-year-old daughter, Marli, a former Matthew Flinders Anglican College student, remained in a critical condition last night and another son, Henri, 20, had minor injuries.
South African media reported the family was hacked to death with an axe, but mystery surrounded the circumstances yesterday.
The deaths have shocked the family's friends and colleagues on the Coast.
Martin van Breda was a successful businessman who made great strides in the real estate industry in the two years the family lived in Buderim.
Former colleague and Remax Caloundra agent Karl Rademeyer described Mr van Breda as a loving father with a drive for business and a hard-working attitude.
"He was very entrepreneurial, hard-working and extremely professional, but at the same time he was a really nice guy," he said.
"He absolutely loved his family and would talk about his kids all the time and boast about how well his sons were doing at uni with top marks. They were a loving family.
"I'd met them a few times and while they hadn't lived on the Coast for long, they had touched so many people here and had a lot of friends in Buderim."
The van Bredas were from South Africa and moved to Australia about six years ago. After living in Perth, the family shifted to the Coast to pursue business ventures and they enjoyed the lifestyle.
Friends said Mr van Breda moved back to his home country to give his daughter a feel for South African culture and education, and to also pursue a business venture to open some private schools.
Mr van Breda opened the Australian arm of prestige property group Engel and Volkers in Mooloolaba in 2010 before making the move to the east coast.
Former Engel and Volkers Mooloolaba principal and director Paul Freney said Martin still owned his Buderim property, and the family had hoped to move back within three years of Marli's graduation.
His two sons went to university in Melbourne. Ray White Buderim real estate agent Lloyd Edwards said he was shocked at the deaths.
"I met Martin and Teresa in 2012 as buyers looking in the Buderim area and was impressed by their calm but business-like manner," he said.
"I received an email from Martin earlier this week where we discussed further ventures in real estate in the Buderim area."
Close friend Renier Oosthuizen said Mr van Breda was extremely entrepreneurial with an eye for business and a heart of gold.
"Despite his wealth, he had a heart for everyone and loved his community," he said. "He was brilliant, incredibly clever."
South African newspaper Cape Argus reported there was no sign of a break-in at the home and that son Henri was found with scratches running down his arms.
Police had taken him in for questioning as a witness, the report said.
Back home on the Coast, prayers and wishes poured in for Marli van Breda as she fought for her life.
In a statement, Matthew Flinders Anglican College offered its sympathies.
"The Matthew Flinders community is very sad to hear the tragic news involving Marli van Breda, a former Year 9 student, and her family," the statement said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Marli, her family and those who love her."
Teresa's close friend Hester Wannenburg said she would miss her caring, kind and outgoing friend, who was always on hand for a game of tennis or just a chat.
"She was just so passionate about her children, very much close to her husband and very family orientated," Mrs Wannenburg said.
"She'd climb mountains and take the boys with her and she was always exercising.
"She was a gentle person, not self-centred and always doing new things.
"When everything is fine and then all of sudden they're gone, it just shows how precious life, friends and family relationships are."