Durban - The family of a 6-year-old girl who was kidnapped, raped, killed and then shoved under the bed, allegedly by a 17-year-old relative, have been torn apart.

The girl’s aunt, Thoko Dimba, told the Daily News on Monday that the family’s pain, anger and confusion had been overwhelming.

“How could this young boy do that to a child? We are so angry. We don’t know what to think,” Dimba said, overcome with emotion.

The battered body of little Leta Sindisiwe Ranketsi was found by her cousin, covered with a blanket, under a bed in their house early on January 16.

According to SAPS Captain Thulani Zwane, Leta had been playing outside her house in the Swapo B informal settlement in Pietermaritzburg on the morning of January 15.

At about 2pm, her aunt discovered Leta was nowhere to be found and immediately informed Leta’s mother.

“Members of the family began searching for Leta, but after six hours of combing the neighbourhood, they reported the child’s disappearance to the police,” Zwane said.

Police joined in the search for the little girl, with no luck. Then, just after midnight, police were informed by relatives that Leta’s body had been found in the house next door to hers.

“One of Leta’s elder male cousins had just returned to his home and was putting his shoes under the bed when he discovered her body covered with a blanket. He immediately alerted his family,” Zwane said.

Leta had bruises on her neck, face and thighs. Police believe she was assaulted and raped before she was strangled.

One of Leta’s relatives has been arrested for the murder. He was allegedly assaulted by his family before they handed him over to police.

Police believe that Leta was lured into her killer’s house while playing outside.

The teenager appeared in court on Monday and has been charged with rape and murder.

He was remanded in custody for seven days to allow him to apply for legal aid.

Daily News