A SUSPECT was arrested in Mutare's Dangamvura high-density suburb yesterday morning after she allegedly tried to abduct a two-year-old child.
The identity of the woman could not be immediately ascertained as she remained mum as officers at Dangamvura Police Station questioned her.
She had been dragged to the station by irate residents who had earlier assaulted her.
The woman, who was clad in apostolic sect garments, is believed to be mentally challenged.
National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, confirmed the incident saying investigations were in progress.
"We want to establish what really took place. The state of mind of the suspect, her motive to commit the alleged crime and whether she was working with anyone. We will update you on the outcome of our investigation," he said.
Residents said the woman tried to flee after the child's mother spotted her with the baby.
The mother of the child, Ms Shylet Mudengerezwa (20) shouted for help and members of the public reacted and chased after the suspect whom they caught up with in maize fields in the Nyamauru section.
After seeing that the public was closing in on her, the suspect is said to have started acting like a mental patient in a bid to attract sympathy.
Ms Mudengerezwa, who operates a vegetable market outside her house, initially saw the suspect loitering in the nearby fields wearing white garments.
An hour later, Ms Mudengerezwa left her son playing alone at the market stall as she went inside the house to collect some items sale.
When she returned after a few minutes, she noticed that her son was missing. Ms Mudengerezwa then saw the suspect about 50 metres away holding her son's hand and walking fast.
She shouted for help while running after the suspect who took to her heels.
Members of the public managed to apprehend the suspect as she approached Mukwena Shopping Centre.
A resident, Sarah Chikodzi said: "I stay in Nyamauru and I was on my way from Oasis Pre-School after taking my child there to attend school.
"I heard the mother of the child shouting for help and saw her chasing after the suspect. I joined in the chase and we managed to apprehend the woman.
"She tried to hide the child under her garments. This woman knew what she was doing and was determined to outpace us, but we did not give up. It is surprising that she is feigning mental illness."
Another resident said: "We are hearing so many stories about ritual murderers targeting children and it scares us."