Police in Mzuzu yesterday released without charge an 18-year-old girl a day after members of her community and relations surrendered her to the police for allegedly killing a two-month-old baby.

Mzuzu Police spokesperson, Maurice Chapola  confirmed in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) that Lucy Phiri, a resident of Masasa Township was released because postmortem conducted on the baby’s body established that she died of suffocation and not strangulation as alleged by those who brought her to police.

He explained that the woman told police during interrogations that she had a tiresome day from tomato vending. He said despite being very tired, she did not sleep early because the baby started crying uncontrollably for hours till she managed to calm her dip into the night.

“She told investigators that she discovered the following day that the baby was not moving. She then went with the baby to the hospital where the baby was pronounced dead.

“She believes that she might have accidentally slept on her baby in course of her sleep movements [during] the night,” Chapola said.

According to Chapola, what might have  roused the general public  to  suspect foul play was that earlier that  night, the suspect  had picked a quarrel with her grandparents on a domestic issue  which  led her to spend the night  at the neighbour’s house.

He said, among other issues, the autopsy report indicates that the baby had some minor bruises in the sides of her body (ribs) and blood in the nose.

“Postmortem conducted on the body of the baby established that there was no sign of strangulation. Basically, the postmortem report concluded that the baby had died of suffocation which might be caused by her mother accidentally sleeping on the baby,” Chapola said.

He said the police put the suspect in custody because the matter was serious as it involved loss of life. He added that she was being protected from mob justice.


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