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Boeke | Books > Nuwe boeke | New books > English

Betrayed: Editor Gerhard Mulder in conversation with author Carol Thompson

Gerhard Mulder, Carol Thompson - 2011-06-23

Untitled Document

Title: Betrayed: A Mother's Battle for Justice
Author: Carol Thompson, with Roxanne Reid
Publisher: Tafelberg
ISBN: 9780624051671
Price: R160.00


The bad news came with three phone calls, in quick succession. Tracey Thompson’s car had been found by the side of a notorious stretch of road, abandoned. This would be the start of a harrowing journey for Carol, Tracey’s mother. The police seemed dismissive of the case, calling off the search for Tracey, as the area where the car had been found was deemed a known area for prostitutes and drug dealers. It was days later that a farm worker stumbled on Tracey’s body. Carol not only had to cope with the loss of her only daughter, but also found that those who were supposed to help and support her most were nowhere to be found. Several years later the police still have no suspects, no arrests have been made and Tracey’s murder remains unsolved. Carol’s delicate memoir of loss and sorrow remembers Tracey as she was, a happy child that came up against an unforgiving world again and again.

How did the writing of Betrayed come about?

Betrayed started as brief notes on yellow and pink Post-It notes. These brief notes soon developed into pages of e-mails and letters to the SAPS (South African Police Service) and various people in an attempt to get answers about what was happening with the investigation. The letters soon grew into pages of typed notes on how I was feeling, as well as my anger and frustration of not getting answers to what I needed to know: how, when and where my daughter had died. Almost like keeping a diary to help me process what had happened. A friend of mine read what I had written and suggested I try and get it published.

What was the hardest part of writing Tracey’s story?

Rehashing the details and going over the timelines with Roxanne Reid – who was a stickler for getting the facts straight. She took on a huge task and did a brilliant job with the manuscript. I will always be grateful that Roxanne was such a wonderful, compassionate person who understood how difficult it was for me to repeatedly revisit those dark days. Her empathy and kindness certainly gave me the strength to go back into the darkest time of my life to ensure the accuracy of Betrayed.

How has your family dealt with losing a daughter and sister?

This is very difficult to answer. In the early days neither Tracey’s brother nor her dad wanted to speak about her. They both withdrew into a protective shell. I was not much help, as I was fighting for answers. I am not sure whether “dealt with” is the correct phrase – I think we have all learned to live a new life without Tracey, but the anger and anguish have been buried – not dealt with. Perhaps the last chapter of the book, "Aftermath", will give a better answer to this question.

Do you think you will ever know how or why Tracey died?

Probably not – but I live in hope that one day we may get more answers.

What do you hope the publication of Betrayed will achieve?

Our story is not unique – there are many families waiting for answers about what has happened to their loved ones who are either missing or dead. I hope that Betrayed will be a heads up for normal families: that crime affects everyone – it doesn’t just happen to “other people”. Hopefully it will make others aware that the SAPS are not infallible and that if the worst happens to their family, not to sit back and wait for answers or telephone calls – those may never come. You are entitled to know how an investigation is progressing. All human life is sacred and no murder victim should be treated like garbage on a rubbish dump – whether the victim be rich and famous or a hobo on the street, they deserve a proper and full investigation.

Some wishful thinking as well. I am hoping against all the odds that it may trigger a memory in someone who could possibly bring to light some information on what happened that fateful night.