JOHANNESBURG - The family of Oscar Pistorius' slain girlfriend wants answers, her mother told a Johannesburg newspaper, as South Africans braced to hear why prosecutors believe a national hero murdered the model who was shot multiple times.

June Steenkamp, Reeva Steenkamp's mother, told The Times in a front page interview published Monday: "Why? Why my little girl? Why did this happen? Why did he do this?"

"Just like that she is gone," the newspaper quoted her as saying in what it described as an emotional telephone interview. "In the blink of an eye and a single breath, the most beautiful person who ever lived is no longer here."

Pistorius, who remains in custody in a red-brick, one-story police station in Pretoria, is set to return to court Tuesday for the start of his bail hearing. It will be the first opportunity for the prosecution to describe evidence police gathered against the 26-year-old double-amputee runner and the reasons why he was charged with murder. Prosecutors allege the killing was premeditated.

Pistorius' family denies he committed murder though they have not addressed whether he shot her. When word first emerged about the killing there was speculation in the local media that Steenkamp had been mistaken for an intruder in Pistorius' home. Police have said that was not something they were considering.

In an email to The Associated Press on Monday, Pistorius' longtime track coach — who was yet to comment — said he believes the killing was an accident.

"I pray that we can all, in time, come through this challenging situation following the accident and I am looking forward to the day I can get my boy back on the track," Ampie Louw wrote in his statement. "I am still in shock following the heart-breaking events that occurred last week and my thoughts and prayers are with both of the families involved."

Pistorius' top sponsor, Nike, said in a brief statement to the AP on Monday that it "has no plans for Oscar Pistorius in upcoming campaigns." They declined to give any further information.

While Pistorius goes to court, Steenkamp's funeral will also be held Tuesday in her hometown of Port Elizabeth on South Africa's southern coast, her family said. It is to be a private ceremony at a local crematorium, closed to the public and media.

"We're just taking things one day at a time," Reeva Steenkamp's brother Adam Steenkamp said outside the family home. "But at the moment it's family coming together and the one person who would be the strongest, who held us all together, is unfortunately not here anymore — and that's my sister."

A 29-year-old blonde model, law graduate and reality TV contestant, Reeva Steenkamp died last week of multiple gunshot wounds inside Pistorius' upscale house in a gated community in the eastern suburbs of the capital, Pretoria.

Police said they arrived in the predawn hours of Thursday — Valentine's Day — to find paramedics trying to revive Steenkamp and said that she had been shot four times. A 9 mm pistol was recovered from the scene. Pistorius was arrested and charged with murder the same day.

Prosecutors said in Pistorius' first court appearance Friday that they would pursue a more serious premeditated murder charge against the Olympian and world's most high-profile disabled athlete.

In a statement initially given only to the AP and two South African reporters over the weekend, Arnold Pistorius, Oscar's uncle, said the prosecution's own case would show there was no murder.

"We have no doubt there is no substance to the allegation," he said, "and that the state's own case, including its own forensic evidence, strongly refutes any possibility of a premeditated murder or indeed any murder at all."

The bail hearing, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, will be the first time both the prosecutors and defence will show their hands about the evidence involved in the killing, said Stephen Tuson, an adjunct law professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

"There will kind of be a little trial within a trial," Tuson said of the start of a court case that will likely grip South Africa and much of the world — possibly for years.

Due to the gravity of the charges, Pistorius' defence lawyers will present their case first, trying to argue that their client is not a danger to the public and won't try to flee to avoid trial, Tuson said. They'll also have to show that he won't try to intimidate witnesses, nor pose a risk of sparking public unrest, the professor said.

The defence does have the opportunity to put Pistorius — who broke down and wept in his first appearance in court — on the stand to offer testimony on his own behalf. That likely won't happen, as prosecutors would then be allowed to ask him potentially incriminating questions, Tuson said.

Typically, defence lawyers read a prepared statement in court instead.

From there, prosecutors will offer their own version of events, likely bolstered by testimony from the lead investigator in the killing, Tuson said.

Pistorius has been in custody in Brooklyn police station in Pretoria since Friday. His agent told the AP that there is no way to predict if he will ever run track again.

"For me it's too early to comment," Peet Van Zyl said. "I think it's still a huge shock and tragedy that took the world by surprise so I can't comment on that one (Pistorius' future career) or give any timeline to that at this point in time."

Coach Louw, who is significant for convincing Pistorius to take up track a decade ago and starting him on his journey to worldwide fame, said he had been around Pistorius and Steenkamp, and she often accompanied the athlete to training.

"I found her to be delightful, very friendly ... and I found the two of them to be very happy in each other's company," Louw said.

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  • Reeva Steenkamp

    In this undated handout publicity photo supplied by Stimulii taken on the island of Jamaica, Reeva Steenkamp poses on set during the shooting of the reality show Tropika Island of Treasure which premieres on state television Saturday, Feb 16, 2013. South Africa's national broadcaster says it will screen the show featuring the dead model girlfriend of double-amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius, two days after she was shot and killed at Pistorius' home. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Stimulii)

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    In this undated handout publicity photo supplied by Stimulii taken on the island of Jamaica, Reeva Steenkamp poses on set during the shooting of the reality show Tropika Island of Treasure which premieres on state television Saturday, Feb 16, 2013. South Africa's national broadcaster says it will screen the show featuring the dead model girlfriend of double-amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius, two days after she was shot and killed at Pistorius' home. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Stimulii-HO)

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    In this undated handout publicity photo supplied by Stimulii taken on the island of Jamaica, Reeva Steenkamp poses on set during the shooting of the reality show Tropika Island of Treasure which premieres on state television Saturday, Feb 16, 2013. South Africa's national broadcaster says it will screen the show featuring the dead model girlfriend of double-amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius, two days after she was shot and killed at Pistorius' home. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Stimulii-HO)

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    In this undated handout publicity photo supplied by Stimulii taken on the island of Jamaica, Reeva Steenkamp poses on set during the shooting of the reality show Tropika Island of Treasure which premieres on state television Saturday, Feb 16, 2013. South Africa's national broadcaster says it will screen the show featuring the dead model girlfriend of double-amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius, two days after she was shot and killed at Pistorius' home. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Stimulii)

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    In this undated handout publicity photo supplied by Stimulii taken on the island of Jamaica, Reeva Steenkamp poses on set during the shooting of the reality show Tropika Island of Treasure which premieres on state television Saturday, Feb 16, 2013. South Africa's national broadcaster says it will screen the show featuring the dead model girlfriend of double-amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius, two days after she was shot and killed at Pistorius' home. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Stimulii)

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeva was a model with Ice Model Management in Johannesburg. This is one of her portfolio pictures.

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeva Steenkamp seen in an image posted to her facebook page

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeve Steenkamp, during a photo shoot. She was the face of Avon in South Africa.

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    One of Reeva's portfolio pictures from Ice Model Management.

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeva and Pistorius had been dating for two months

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    As well as being the face of Avon in South Africa, Reeva also presented a number of TV shows

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeva used her Twitter account regularly, often retweeting and posting links that highlighted violence against women

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeva Steenkamp seen in an image posted to her facebook page

  • Tashas All White Party - Melrose Arch

    Oscar Pistorius (left) and Reeva Steenkamp at Tashas All White Party at Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, South Africa

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeva pictured at the Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards 2013 on 7 February 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeva Steenkamp seen in an image posted to her facebook page

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeva Steenkamp seen in an image posted to her twitter page

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeva Steenkamp out and about in an image posted to her twitter page

  • Reeva Steenkamp

  • Reeva Steenkamp (LEFT)

    Reeva Steenkamp poses for a photograph on her twitter page

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeva Steenkamp seen in an image posted to her twitter page

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeva Steenkamp seen in an image posted to her facebook page

  • Reeva Steenkamp

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeva Steenkamp was a cover star for FHM magazine

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeva demonstrating the joys of MINIs

  • Reeva Steenkamp (RIGHT)

    Reeva poses with a friend

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeva receives some canine attention

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    Reeva's modelling career led to some high profile magazine covers

  • 2012 South African Sports Awards - Sandton Convention Centre

    Reeva with Oscar Pistorius at the SA Sports Awards

  • 2012 South African Sports Awards - Sandton Convention Centre

    Reeva and Oscar Pistorius arrive at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg for the SA Sports Awards

  • A promo for the Tropika Island of Treasure Show, in which Reeva was due to appear

    Reeva had been set to appear as a celebrity contestant in the Tropika Island of Treasure Show this Saturday. On their website on Thursday morning, they posted a note extending their condolences to her friends and family.

  • PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA: Reeva Steenkamp in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Mike Holmes/The Herald/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

    Reeva Steenkamp phorographed recently in Johannesburg

  • PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA: Reeva Steenkamp in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Mike Holmes/The Herald/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

    Reeva had worked for Toyota, FHM, Clover & Italian brand Zui as well as doing some TV presenting

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    In this frame-grab from state television channel SABC 1 a tribute is devoted to slain model Reeva Steenkamp, girlfriend of Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius. South Africa’s national broadcaster went ahead with the screening of the reality TV show "Tropica Island of Treasure" Saturday, Feb 16, 2013, featuring the dead model. Steenkamp encouraged her family to watch in one of her last conversations with them before her shooting death at the home of Pistorius. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • Reeva Steenkamp

    In this frame-grab from state television channel SABC 1 a tribute is devoted to slain model Reeva Steenkamp, girlfriend of Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius. South Africa’s national broadcaster went ahead with the screening of the reality TV show "Tropica Island of Treasure" Saturday, Feb 16, 2013, featuring the dead model. Steenkamp encouraged her family to watch in one of her last conversations with them before her shooting death at the home of Pistorius. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)