Luyanda Mhlongo‚ 14‚ took her last laboured breaths in a plantation - a stone’s throw from her home in Elokishini near Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal – strangled to death after she was brutally gang raped.

Her body‚ partially clothed and riddled with stab wounds‚ was discovered by children playing in the trees on Saturday.

“We think she died on Friday night but we are not sure‚ all we know is that she didn’t come home‚” her sister Hlengiwe Mathenjwa said.

Now police are trying to piece together Mhlongo’s last moments after she returned from school to change her clothes and then left to meet with her friends.

“They told us that she was gang raped. Our family was worried when she didn’t come home on Friday night so we began to look but we couldn’t find her.”

On Monday the family went to the police station to report Mhlongo missing‚ only to be notified that a body matching her description had been discovered days before.

Her grandfather‚ Nkanyiso Mhlongo‚ said what the teen endured in the moments before she was killed was what worried him most.

“What has happened has shocked us as a family because there is so much we still don’t know…We are very worried about the condition she was found in and what is worrying us even more is that we don’t know what happened to her‚” he said.

A memorial service was held at the Gcwalulwazi High School on Thursday‚ attended by KZN Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana.

“These things are happening too many times for comfort. Society itself needs to participate in the fight against these horrible incidents‚” he said.

“We had another learner who was raped and murdered in a very gruesome way last week…we are saddened by this death and for cases like this. One death is one too many‚” he said.