A three-week-old baby was brutally beaten to death – allegedly by his own father.
Little Laeeq Schroeder suffered a gruesome litany of injuries before he was violently killed.
The baby boy had five broken ribs, a broken hip bone, blood on his brain, a swollen knee and injuries on his back and testicles.
On Friday the infant’s father, Igshaan Price, was set to appear in court charged with killing his own son.
The Daily Voice can reveal the 39-year-old was arrested outside Salt River mortuary earlier this month.
They suspected foul play after an autopsy carried out on his son revealed he had suffered horrific internal injuries.
Price will be formally charged with Laeeq’s murder at Athlone Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
The baby’s heartbroken mother Felicia Schroeder, 29, on Thursday night recalled the nightmare moment when she discovered her little son’s lifeless body.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Voice, Felicia claimed she left her son with Price for just a few minutes as she went to a shop nearby.
When she returned, Price gave their son to her.
She said he told her the infant had difficulty breathing.
But Felicia insisted: “He was perfectly fine when I left the house shortly after 1pm.
“I was away for a short while and when I got back he gave me the child and said he can’t breathe.”
Felicia said her baby’s eyes were shut and he looked pale.
She immediately rushed little Laeeq to hospital in a panicked state.
“He wasn’t crying or anything and I noticed that his face was lighter,” Felicia added.
“I immediately ran to the hospital but before I left, I told Igshaan to bring a blanket along when he comes to the hospital after me.
“As I was running, I lifted (Laeeq’s) arm but it fell down again.”
At the hospital, doctors battled to save Laeeq. But it was too late. He was declared dead shortly before 2pm on May 1.
“When the doctors came out to give me the news, I just cried,” the grieving mom said.
“I came home to my mother and gave her the news, then I went looking Igshaan who never made it to the hospital after I asked him to bring the blanket.”
Distraught Felicia eventually found her boyfriend sitting at home a few hours later and told him their son was dead.
The baby was due to be buried the following day in accordance with Islamic rites.
But instead police accompanied Felicia to the mortuary and arrested Price under suspicion of murder.
“We were getting ready to bury Laeeq when police came to get me at home,” Felicia explained.
“Igshaan and his brother were at the mortuary when police told me after an autopsy they found my child didn’t die of natural causes.”
Felicia, a self-confessed drug user, says Igshaan is an abusive bully who regularly beat her.
“He was very abusive towards me as well,” she told the Daily Voice.
I was afraid of him because he was always hitting me and he was aggressive.”
And in a chilling twist, Felicia revealed she and Price also had a previous child who died under mysterious circumstances in May last year.
In a case with eerie echoes of this tragedy, Felicia left their three-month-old daughter Faith with Price while she went to visit her mother.
“I left her with him for a few minutes and when I got back, his brother told me she was at the hospital,” Felicia said.
“She later died and doctors said she was brain dead.”
Felicia confirmed that no autopsy had been carried out on Faith.
“We just took what the doctors said,” she said.
“Igshaan says they rushed her to the hospital after she choked while drinking her bottle.
“We were both on drugs but I stopped because of my children. I loved my children.
“I was very attached to Laeeq and I’m going to miss holding him.”
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Lance Goliath on Thursday night confirmed that police are investigating Laeeq’s murder.
When asked about the death of Price’s first child, Goliath vowed police would “investigate all of the circumstances” surrounding the case.
* This article was published in the Daily Voice