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Dad held as missing tot’s body found

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Copy of DF burnt 1201d

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The forensic pathology team removes the burnt body of a one-year-old baby boy, which was found in a ditch nearly 200 meters fromhis father's home in Galeshewe. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Kimberley - A 27-year-old Kimberley father has been arrested after the partially burnt body of his one-year-old son was found in Phakedi Street in Galeshewe on Sunday morning.

The man appeared in the Galeshewe Magistrate’s Court on Monday in connection with the murder.

Thabang Macqueena, who is one of a twin, was reported missing after he disappeared from his father’s home on Thursday night.

The body of Thabang was found about 200 metres from his father’s house on Sunday morning.

Community members at the scene speculated that the father of the toddler could have been involved in the child’s death.

A neighbour in Phakedi Street, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the couple was constantly fighting over money.

“The father, who was often drunk over weekends, would forcefully take the children from the mother’s house in Sesing Street.”

According to another neighbour, the couple’s relationship appeared to be “unstable”.

Family member, Kelebogile Pamreit, confirmed on Sunday that Thabang was one of a set of twin boys.

“On Thursday night, around 8pm, his mother reported the child missing to her family, but not to the family of the father.”

Pamriet said the family was contacted by the police on Sunday morning. “They told us that they had found the body of a toddler, who had been set alight, and they suspected it might be the missing boy. The parents were asked to come and identify the body.”

Pamreit said the left side of the baby’s body was charred and was covered in ash, presumably from paper used to set the body alight.

“Thabang was found lying on his back. It appears as if he had been covered with a towel, which was also burnt.”

Community member, Harriet Mofoti, said that when the parents came to identify the body, they appeared emotionless.

“Both parents are unemployed. If this is a case where the burden of looking after twins was too much for them, they should have asked for help.”

She added that community members were shocked and horrified by the discovery of the baby’s body. “This is the first time something like this has happened in our area.”

Police spokesman, Lieutenant Olebogeng Tawana, on Sunday confirmed that the father of the baby had been arrested after he was taken in for questioning.

“Our preliminary investigation indicates that one-year-old Thabang Macqueena may have been murdered on Thursday. The fact that he was reported missing on Friday could have been a strategy to deceive the police.”

Tawana added that the missing boy’s body was found around 9am on Sunday morning. It had been burnt and dumped in a trench in Phakedi Street.

“The father was arrested after the mother hinted to the police that the father might have fabricated the story that Thabang Macqueena was missing.”

Tawana confirmed that the baby had been wrapped in a towel and set alight. “The body was in a state of decomposition and the smell attracted the attention of community members.

“The police were contacted by members of the community following the gruesome discovery.”

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