Couple held after baby’s death

2008-05-08 00:00

A Wartburg couple were arrested yesterday following the death of their six-day-old baby boy, whose body was exhumed from a shallow grave by forensic experts.

It is alleged that the 37-year-old man suffocated the baby after he denied being the father. After being confronted by angry neighbours, the 24-year-old mother confessed that the child’s body was buried in a shallow grave.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan said police established that the baby was born on May 2. "It is alleged that the mother of the baby had become very evasive when she was questioned [yesterday] regarding the whereabouts of the baby," said Jeevan.

The mother confessed later that her boyfriend had killed the baby the previous night.

The couple’s neighbour, who was the midwife during the birth in the her homestead, kept both the baby and the mother in her home until Wednesday to make sure that he was taken care of. But on Wednesday evening the boyfriend demanded that his girlfriend return to his homestead.

"At the boyfriend’s homestead on Wednesday night, he denied being the father and accused the mother of cheating. He pointed out features on the baby, which he said didn’t resemble his. He then threatened to kill the baby," said a source that wished to remain anonymous.

When the midwife visited the couple at about 7 am yesterday, the baby was not there and the couple could not explain his whereabouts. Suspicious, the midwife called neighbours who also demanded to see the baby.

"The mother broke down and cried before pointing out the grave. She said her boyfriend mistakenly [rolled on top of the baby while he was sleeping] at night. After discovering that he was dead they decided to conceal the body in a grave, which they dug with a hoe," said another source.

Jeevan said the couple will appear in the New Hanover Magistrate’s Court shortly.

bhans@witness.co.za

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