South Africa: Mpumalanga Mother, 19, Arrested After Skeletal Remains of 2-Year-Old Girl Found in Garden

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(File photo).
27 February 2020

A 19-year-old Mpumalanga woman has been arrested after the skeletal remains of who is believed to be her 2-year-old daughter were found in her garden.

According to provincial police commissioner Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, the remains were discovered by the suspect's 13-year old nephew in the garden while he was preparing to plant potatoes on February 21. As he was digging the soil, the teenager noticed what looked like a human skull and immediately called his uncle, who in turn called the police.

Upon arrival, police confirmed that it was a human skull, they then summoned the forensic team of the police to the scene, where the rest of the human remains were found buried in a shallow grave in the garden.

"Police immediately conducted preliminary investigations which revealed that the suspect's 2-year-old daughter had not been seen by the family since December last year. It later surfaced that the skeletal remains could possibly be those of her daughter," Hlathi said.

"Police then traced the 19-year-woman, who is alleged to be the mother, and enquired about the whereabouts of her daughter. She informed police that her child went for a family ritual ceremony in Lesotho. However, she later confessed that she killed her daughter and buried her in the backyard garden. The woman was arrested and appeared in the Embalenhle Magistrate's Court on Monday."

During her court appearance, the woman did not plead and was remanded in custody for further investigation. She is expected to appear again at the same court within seven days.

Mpumalanga provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma has strongly condemned the killing of children.

"Young mothers who feel overwhelmed by such a responsibility or are going through any challenges are encouraged to seek assistance at relevant institutions so as to prevent such incidents. This is the third gruesome incident in a short space of time where children were found to have been murdered by their own parents," said Zuma.

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