Malisha Carmen Santi. Picture: Supplied
Malisha Carmen Santi. Picture: Supplied

Murder mystery: Nurse aunt allegedly told mom her daughter, 4, never woke from sleep

By Venecia Valentine Time of article published Jun 24, 2021

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Cape Town – Mitchells Plain police are investigating a case of murder after a four-year-old girl died under mysterious circumstances while in her aunt’s custody.

The child’s 23-year-old mother says she asked the aunt, a nurse, to care for her child as she had been going through a difficult time.

The mother, who asked not to be identified at this stage, says the aunt told her that little Malisha had gone to sleep that afternoon and never woke up.

She says in November 2019, she asked the woman to look after her child for what was supposed to be a short period, as she was looking for a job.

REPORT: Malisha’s mother with the clinic card. Picture: Venecia Valentine

“I first needed to find a job and a stable home for us. I didn’t want to depend on the family I was living with,” says the mom.

“I wasn’t on drugs, drinking or smoking, I just needed some time to get on my feet.

“In the first few months of her living there, my cousins and I noticed that she had a burn mark on her body and bruises.

“We asked about it and the aunt said it was her own fault as she touched something hot.

“We took this up with a social worker in Mitchells Plain but to my surprise, I was told that there is no valid case.

‘DISFIGURED’: Malisha’s hand with bruising has raised suspicion. Picture: Supplied

“This resulted in the aunt cutting my visitation rights. I was treated as if I legally signed off my child to her, but I only verbally agreed to her taking temporary custody of Malisha while I find a job.

“She did not allow me to see her, using various excuses, including the pandemic.”

She says on 10 June, a doctor at Mitchells Plain Day Hospital called her cousin to tell them that Malisha was dead.

“When we got there, my child had a cut on the lip, she was stiff, blue in the face, scabs on her stomach, bruises on her hand and ear, her hand looked disfigured, her nose was bruised, she had a cut on her eyelid, blue eye and she looked extremely thin,” the mom says.

Picture: Venecia Valentine

SAPS’ Andre Traut, confirms a case of murder is under investigation and no one has been arrested as yet.

When the Daily Voice asked the aunt for comment, she referred queries to the police.

Department of Social Development spokesperson Esther Lewis says they are assisting police with their investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death.

Lewis noted social workers had assisted the aunt with obtaining a birth certificate to enrol the child into an ECD.

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