The missing Free State toddler, who disappeared after being abandoned under a tree by her cousins, was found dead on Thursday.
Four-year-old Reitumetse Madibeng had been missing since Saturday, January 6.
She was last seen in the company of her cousins, aged 19 and 20.
The women left their home in Kanana with the child and were headed for the farms along the R702 Road area.
“It is alleged the two cousins left the four-year-old girl lying under the tree by the roadside towards Daspoort after the child got tired from walking and laid down under the tree,” the provincial police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Thabo Covane said.
The women left the child where she was resting and they continued to walk to the farming area.
Covane said they eventually arrived at their destination and informed the mother of the child they had left her daughter behind. The mother immediately contacted the police.
“A search team was assembled but could not find the child. A case of child neglect was also opened and the two women were arrested,” Covane said.
He said a team made up of policing units and media houses continued to search for the child on Thursday in the Dewetsdorp area.
“At about 1.25pm, the team which was searching the stretch of the Daspoort Road, the dams and quarries in the area, found the body of the girl. The lifeless body of Reitumetse Madibeng was found in the veld near the farm road between Kareelaagte and Deelpan,” Covane said.
A case of murder is now being investigated.
Covane said the arrested cousins remain in police custody and are expected to apply for bail in the Dewetsdorp Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, January 17.
Police urge members of the public who may have information that can help solve the murder case to contact the nearest police station, or submit information on the MySAPS App or call the SAPS Crime Stop number at 086-001-0111.
Police have no available photo of the child at this stage.