School in mourning over pupil, 15

LAUREN O’CONNOR-MAY

Reagan Payne fell from open train doors to his death on Wednesday February 10.

The 15-year-old was travelling home from Oude Molen High School in Pinelands when he is believed to have slipped from an open train carriage and died.

Metrorail’s spokesperson Riana Scott said they were notified that Reagan’s body was lying along the tracks between Bellville and Sarepta stations.

“Bellville Rapid Rail Police was called and an inquest docket opened at Bellville South police station,” she said.

Metrorail could not confirm the events that led to Reagan’s fall or why the train doors were open, but said it is being investigated by police. “We were saddened to learn of Reagan Payne’s death and the circumstances leading to his demise,” Ms Scott said.

Captain Fienie Nimb of Bellville police station said no foul play was suspected and Reagan was not robbed on the train.

According to a daily newspaper, Reagan’s mother, Jean Payne, 30, last saw Reagan when she dropped him off at school that morning.

When he was not home by 7pm, she became worried and reported him missing on an application on her phone.

Minutes later police arrived at her door with the news.

“We don’t know what happened but we don’t believe he was pushed,” Ms Payne said.

“It doesn’t seem like there was a struggle.”

Ms Payne was invited to a special assembly at Oude Moulen High School on Tuesday February 16.

Oude Molen’s principal, Tony Marshall, said the school had to call in extra counsellors, besides their own, to console grieving pupils and teachers.

“The school is unnaturally quiet,” he said.

Flags at the school were flown at half mast and pupils wore black to school on the Friday after Reagan’s death.

The annual Valentine’s Day assembly and dance were cancelled out of respect.

Mr Marshall said his office had become a place where groups of tearful pupils formed or where pleasant memories about Reagan were shared.

“We remember how cheerful he was and how naughty he sometimes was, like all youngsters are,” he said.

Mr Marshall said the school has been inundated with support from past pupils and from other schools but added that their pain was nothing compared to Ms Payne’s grief.

“For a mother to lose a child is to experience inconsolable pain.”