There was drama and commotion in the high-density suburb of Mutare, Zimbabwe on Monday after neighbors took up arms against a woman who allegedly murdered her teenage stepson and tried to conceal the heinous crime by faking suicide on behalf of the victim.

13-year-old Ishmael Chishakwe who had visited his father and stepmother at their Hobhouse residency is alleged to have committed suicide in the bathroom.

Neighbors did not buy the suicide claims and suspected foul play saying the Grade Seven scholar must have been murdered by the stepmother- Precious Chishakwe who they say physically abused him.

When the blood baying neighbors demanded an explanation from the parents over the alleged suicide claims, Ishamael’s father Tapfumanei Chishakwe who was at home when the boy died could not give a definitive explanation.

“We can confirm that the boy was found dead in a suspected case of suicide in Hobhouse on Monday afternoon. However, investigations are in progress”, Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Luxson Chananda told The Manica Post.

A brave neighbor who forced her way into the Chishakwe homestead said she saw the boy’s lifeless body lying in an empty bathtub with a sponge tied around his neck hanging from the tap.

To her, it did not make sense that a soft sponge could be sufficient enough to kill the boy.

According to a neighbor Ms. Sara Chakuhwa the couple wanted to conceal the murder but Tapfumaneyi was overheard talking on the phone about ferrying the corpse to their rural homestead for burial prompting residents to besiege the house.

“He was overheard by someone informing a relative of Ishmael’s death and their decision to ferry the corpse to their rural home. They wanted to keep the death under wraps, but it was all over the neighbourhood within minutes, prompting neighbours to besiege the house demanding the truth, said Ms Chakuhwa.

She added that Precious Chishakwe had raised her voice at Ishmael in frustration moments before he died.
“I was outside when I heard the step-mother (Precious) calling the boy and shouting: ‘Idiot, unoda kudeedzerwa chikafu, unotenga chikafu pano here iwe. (You want me to always call you to come and eat, do you buy any food here?) Within 20 minutes, the child was dead and who can buy these suicide lies?

“I quickly rushed to their house and asked the stepmother if I could view the child. My intention was to render him first aid, but I was denied access.”

Precious told me that she was scared to go into the bathroom where the body was, she said.

Another neighbor who refused to be named questioned how Ishmael could have killed himself in the bathtub saying:

“Precious told me that she was informed by a niece who was at the house that Ishmael had committed suicide. It is, however, shocking that anyone would believe that the child committed suicide in that bathroom, as tall as he was.

“He had marks on his neck and there was no water, towel or soap in the bathroom to corroborate their claim. His body was just lying in an empty tub with his eyes open,” she said.

In an interview with The Manica Post Precious said she was not at home when the incident occurred and that she was struggling to come to terms with reality.

“I was not there when the incident happened. I was told by my niece who was here that Ishmael had been instructed by his father to take a bath when he committed suicide.

“His father was reading a novel in the dining room. The boy took long to come out of the bathroom and when a follow-up was made, it was discovered that he had died. He might have been choked by a sponge which was around his neck. I could not entertain our neighbours at that time because I was still in a state of shock,” said a teary Chishakwe.

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