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For years, a 67-year-old woman lived with the decomposing bodies of her husband and 17-year-old daughter wrapped in blankets and buried in a shallow grave in her backyard.

The two were last seen in 2011 and 2009, respectively.

The bodies were unearthed on Saturday when the family of the husband went to the woman’s house to demand answers about the missing father and his daughter.

She told them the two were dead and buried in the backyard. The in-laws called the police, who went to the house in Tlhabologang, a township next to Lichtenburg, North West, and uncovered the secret.

Post-mortems have not yet revealed the cause of the pair’s deaths, but the woman was arrested, charged with double murder and taken into custody. Her 16-year-old daughter was also taken in for questioning.

The woman appeared at the Lichtenburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday and was not asked to plead. She indicated that she would pay for her own lawyer.

North West police spokeswoman Captain Tselane Nkala said the woman’s in-laws had on many occasions demanded answers about her husband’s whereabouts.

She would reply that he “was out”, without ever saying where.

The man had not been seen since last year.

“But on Saturday they said they were not leaving until she tells them where her husband and their daughter was. She is alleged to have then told that family that if they want to know the truth she will tell them. She then said she buried father and daughter in a shack (in their backyard),” Nkala said.

The family then saw fit to call the police.

When they arrived, the woman told them the same story she had related to her in-laws.

“Before the police started looking for the bodies, they took the woman to a doctor at the nearby hospital to check whether she was fine and of sound mind,” Nkala said.

After it had been established that the woman was sane, police went to the place where the bodies were buried – in a shack that is attached to her RDP house.

She allegedly told the police to dig under the bed. Nkala said police dug where she told them and found the badly decomposed body of a man and bones believed to be that of their missing daughter. Both were wrapped in blankets.

“She told the police that the daughter and husband had been sick, and when they died she buried them under the bed as she did not have money for a burial. But she also refused to answer some questions,” Nkala said.

The case was postponed to next Monday and the woman will remain in custody.

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The Star Africa