Neighbors Regret Ignoring Girl’s Cries For Help

A 35-year-old man has been charged with murder after he allegedly beat his stepdaughter to death and put her to bed to make it look like she was asleep.

Duduza police spokesperson Sgt Harry Manaka said the man, who cannot be named until he appears in court, then called six-year-old Amogelang Kgonyane’s mother Phakiso on Monday, informing her that the child was not feeling well.

Manaka said the 25-year-old mother rushed back home from work and her child was declared dead on arrival at the local clinic.

“She was swollen, had a big bump on the head. Her eye area and cheeks had dried tears to show she had been crying before she died,” Manaka said, adding that the man fled the house when the child’s mother arrived.

“The mother took the child to the clinic [after being] assisted by neighbours with a car. The child was declared dead on arrival at the clinic. It was discovered that the child had bruises on the body and head, suggesting that she was severely assaulted,” he said.

Manaka said the boyfriend was arrested on Tuesday afternoon at a friend’s house in Masechaba Extension, where he was hiding.

“He could not even explain what happened to the child and shockingly, on further examination, it was suspected that the child may have also been sexually assaulted.”

When Sowetan approached the family on Thursday, they said Phakiso was too distraught to speak.

However, earlier in the day, she told Sowetan while weeping:

“I have just been to the mortuary to identify my daughter. I am broken and feel like the world is caving in on me. I just want to keep crying because I cannot let go.”

A neighbour, Sibongile Khanyile, said the community was shocked.

“I heard the child crying during the day but I didn’t say much of it. The most painful thing as a mother is to be called [to come home] from work and [then] find your child dead,” she said.

Khanyile, who had known the couple for three years, said the child always cried when the mother was leaving her with the man to go to work.

“It was concerning but when I asked the mother about it, she just said her daughter was emotional.”

Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said she looked after Amogelang sometimes and the girl had told her that she wants to go and stay with her grandparents because her stepfather was making her sad.

“It’s only now that I feel like I should have somehow taken a step to dig deeper. I feel very sad because I failed that little girl. Children have a way of sending a cry for help because they cannot express themselves properly sometimes and but now [I realise] that the child’s emotional behaviour [was] a sign that something was wrong.”

Manaka said the man would appear in court on Friday.

Source: SowetanLive

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