Suffer the Little Children

Episode 51: Poppie Van der Merwe (Part 2)

February 24, 2021

In episode 50, I began telling you the story of a three-year-old girl named Poppie Van der Merwe, whose utterly preventable death shocked the nation of South Africa. After multiple reports that Poppie and her five-year-old brother were being abused, social services became involved, but the family moved to avoid the investigation. Three weeks later, Poppie was dead, and in this episode, I’ll go over the events that followed the arrests of both her stepfather and her mother.

This is the story of the murder of a blonde, blue-eyed little doll whose smile stole the hearts of an entire country. It’s also a sadly familiar story of the failure of an agency tasked with protecting children despite countless warning signs and multiple reports from those close to the family. 

This is part 2 of the heartbreaking story of Poppie Van der Merwe. 

Francois Nolte’s short film based on Poppie's story, Porselein, can be viewed here. (

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This podcast is written, hosted, edited, and produced by Laine. 

For more stories like Poppie’s, visit Suffer the Little Children Blog.

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