The decomposing body of 10-year-old Siphumelele Mzimba was discovered by her father in the bushes near her home in Nazareth, a suburb of Pinetown near Durban.
An adult close to the family has been arrested.
The Grade 4 pupil went missing on June 13 and was found three weeks later, on July 4.
According to her father, Mlungisi Nkala, 29, the day Siphumelele went missing she had left to visit a hairdresser, Zandile Nsele who lives about five minute walk from the family’s home.
Later that day the family received a demand of R20 000 for her release.
Nsele, 39, was arrested on June 19 and charged with kidnapping, but the girl was not found.
During her third appearance in the Pinetown Magistrate’s court on Tuesday, the charge of murder was added but Nsele abandoned her bail application.
The state alleged that the grade 4 pupil was strangled to death with cable ties.
Siphumelele’s mother, Nosipho Mzimba, said she is shocked by Nsele because she doesn’t seem like someone who would do something like this but she has no remorse in court.
Speaking to the Daily News, Nkala said the police had told him a hole had been dug near Nsele’s house and when he went with them to investigate, they noticed a strong stench. They wondered around until they located it.
Nkala was with a female officer so he went into the bush and saw his child lying with her hands and feet tied.
He knew it was his daughter by the clothes she was wearing.
The case is due back in court on August 20.