A 42-year-old mother of four from Bulawayo’s Pumula South suburb allegedly killed her four-year-old niece and buried the body at a house she was renting. Gladys Sibanda is suspected to have killed Thandeka Moyo last year on December 9.
Police exhumed the body on Monday after Sibanda allegedly gave conflicting statements about her niece’s whereabouts.
An unidentified man from the suburb – who has since been arrested – allegedly assisted Sibanda to conceal the crime.
She allegedly dragged the little girl from where she was sleeping with her children and tried to strangle her.
Sources said when Sibanda failed to throttle the child to death, she banged her head on the floor, killing her instantly.
Police are yet to establish the motive for the murder.
Sibanda at one time allegedly told the police and her relatives that Thandeka died in Botswana in a car accident and was buried in the neighbouring country.
On another occasion, she is said to have claimed the child died after she had gone with her to self-proclaimed prophets.
After months of interrogation, she eventually confessed that she killed the child and buried her in the backyard before leaving the house.
A Chronicle news crew yesterday visited the house where Thandeka’s body was buried and its new occupants said they were shocked by incident.
Mrs Thembelani Bhebhe said she moved into the house on December 21 and had no knowledge of the crime.
“I’m still at a loss for words about this bizarre incident. I’m shocked to say the least. Police brought Sibanda here for indications yesterday and she directed them to where she had buried the child and they started digging. The police found the child’s skeleton. I’m still shaken by the whole thing. We didn’t know that there was grave in the yard,” said Mrs Bhebhe.
She said before coming to the house Sibanda had directed the police to Bulawayo Provincial Heroes’ Acre and another bushy area where they dug for the child to no avail.
She said during the indications Sibanda demonstrated to the police how she heartlessly killed the child.
“She entered the house and told the police that she removed her where she was sleeping with her four children. She said she tried to strangle her but seeing that the child was not dying she slammed her twice against the floor leading to her death,” she said.
Mrs Bhebhe said Sibanda revealed that she dug a shallow grave and a man from the suburb assisted her to conceal the crime.
Outraged women from the suburb yesterday said such cruelty deserves a maximum sentence.
“What sort of a mother does that? She pretended to be a church person sometimes having all night prayers here yet she had her sin hidden at the house. She is a disgrace to women. She should hang for her actions because no one can stomach knowing that she is alive and well in prison when their children will be dead,” said a woman who declined to be named.
Acting Bulawayo police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed Sibanda’s arrest.
However, he could not disclose details regarding her suspected accomplice’s arrest.
“We’re investigating a suspected murder where a four year old child was allegedly killed by a 42-year-old woman who is assisting police with investigations. The child is suspected to have been killed on December, 9 and her remains were exhumed on Monday,” said Asst Insp Ncube.
“The accused was arrested after she gave conflicting statements regarding the whereabouts of her niece who was left under her guardianship.”
He urged the public to leave children with responsible adults.