The beheaded body of a one-year-old baby girl was found by a seven-year-old neighbour, about 80m from her home.
Residents in Proteaville, Britstown believed that the beheading of Jeynielien Davidene Boks, whose body was found close to her home’s outhouse, was a case of muti killing.
Her body was found naked on Thursday, with dogs nearby.
Inside the outhouse, a blood-soaked suitcase was found, while the clothes that she had been wearing were found inside a toilet.
According to the child’s father, David April, only pieces of bones believed to be that of her skull were found nearby. The front part of her head, including her face, was missing.
The child’s mother, Anna Boks, said she last saw her only daughter, who had celebrated her first birthday earlier during the week, just before sunset on Wednesday.
“It was a cold evening and I fell asleep on the bed with her next to me. Later, I woke up and realised that she was not there. I started asking around to find out where she was, but couldn’t find her.
“The next morning I saw a crowd gathering next to the outside toilet and I went there to see what that was all about. I arrived there only to find the body of my child lying in the bushes. I recognised her by the bottom part of her body,” Boks said.
“She was naked and her head had been chopped off. I was extremely shocked and couldn’t bring myself to look more at her body. I immediately went to report the incident to the police.”
The Britstown community has, meanwhile, vowed to avenge the baby girl’s murder, threatening to take the law into their own hands if the alleged murderer is found.
“This incident has sent shockwaves through our community. This is the first incident of its kind to ever happen in our normally peaceful community. The brutal killing of the young child has left us shocked and deeply disturbed,” one angry resident said.
“It is all everyone is talking about. We are suspicious of every person that crosses our path and are looking at every stranger as a suspect. Some of us are even willing to kill this perpetrator if he is found.”
Others said that they suspected the child’s murder was a case of muti killing.
“The child’s head is missing. What would anyone want with that part of her body if not in concocting some muti. We are shocked that this barbaric act happened right under our noses,” residents said.
Police spokeswoman, Colonel Priscilla Naidu, confirmed on Sunday that the police in Britstown were investigating a case of murder after the body of the girl was found.
She added that “due to the sensitivity of the matter” the police could not confirm whether the child was beheaded or not and that a post-mortem would be conducted to determine the exact cause of death.
“It is alleged that the mother discovered the child, identified as Jeynieline Davidene Boks, missing during the night between April 2 and 3. She reported the child missing to police on Thursday, April 3. The body of the child was found at about 7:45am,” Naidu said.
She added that no arrest had been made and appealed to the community to assist in the investigation. She urged anyone with information relating to the incident to contact the investigating officer, Detective Warrant Officer Christiaan Noeth, on 082 448 3455.
The incident has been widely condemned, with even the MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Mac Jack, on Sunday expressing his heartfelt condolences on behalf of the Northern Cape provincial government during a visit to the family of the deceased.
Jack appealed to members of the community gathered at the house to give support to the bereaved family and to remain calm.
“We urge the community to avoid taking the law into their own hands because the law enforcement agencies are working around the clock to apprehend those responsible for this killing. We also urge those who might have information about this killing to alert the police. The recent barbaric acts of killings in the Province remain a serious concern to the government and the people of the Province. We vow to uproot child and gender-based violence out of our society,” Jack said on Sunday.
“The disturbing scenes which we witnessed cannot be condoned. What we are faced with in many of our communities are forms of crimes which can only be addressed if we strengthen our collective efforts against abuse of women, children and the elderly.”
Jack also made a commitment to assist the family of the deceased with the necessary arrangements during their mourning and further appreciated the unwavering support the family was receiving from the community.
“We need to stand together as communities and continue to fight against this crime trend of people who prey on the vulnerable,” he added.
Jack also said that a strategic session was scheduled to take place between himself, a team of departmental officials and the police, where they would engage to intensify and realign new measures aimed at dealing with the scourge of the recent spate of killings in Northern Cape communities.
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