A THREE-YEAR-OLD child stayed with her deceased grandmother for three days, with the toddler believing the 54-year-old was asleep all the time, the Lesotho Times heard this week.
‘Manthabiseng Ramataboe of Mahlabatheng village in Roma, was found dead in her bedroom on Saturday last week, with multiple wounds on her head, bruises all over the body and one of her eyes beaten out of its socket, according to a family spokesperson, Lekhooa Ramataboe.
“She was last seen by neighbours on Wednesday last week, and we suspect she could have been killed that night, but her body was only discovered on Saturday at around midday,” Mr Ramataboe said.
“‘Manthabiseng used to live with her 28-year-old grandson and the three-year-old girl.
“The grandson had not been seen for about two weeks, until the day he found the deceased in bed with dried blood all over the place, which suggested the attack could have taken place days before.”
Mr Ramataboe said they were yet to ascertain the whereabouts of the grandson in those two weeks.
“But he told us that when he came to check on the family together with his friend, that’s when he met his three-year-old sister who informed him their grandmother was asleep and was still in bed,” he said.
“He said since it was still early in the morning, he pruned the peach-tree in front of the house and cut the grass in the yard and did not think much of his grandmother’s absence.
“But he said knowing his grandmother, he was surprised that she could still be in bed at midday when he finished his chores.
“He told us he then decided to check on her, only to be met with this inconceivable horror. Neighbours who came to the house when he raised the alarm then alerted the Roma police about the tragedy,” Mr Ramataboe said.
According to Mr Ramataboe, officers who attended the crime scene said they suspected she could also have been raped.
“This tragedy has left all of us shaken, and we also don’t know how to deal with this three-year-old child who appears to have seen her grandmother being murdered,” he said.
“She is continually mumbling that they beat her up, and injured her eye. She needs serious counselling but we have no-one to help us with this service; we don’t know who to approach for such help, because we believe it also requires money which we don’t have.”
The deceased’s heartbroken son, Thabiso Ramataboe, who lives in Ha Mabote due to work-commitments, told the Lesotho Times his mother had complained about “strange withdrawals of money” from her bank account.
“A few weeks before my mother died, she complained that some money had been withdrawn from her bank account, and that she did not know who could have been stealing the funds,” said Mr Ramataboe.
“So when I arrived home, I looked for her identity documents and could not find them. I tried calling her mobile phone, and it was on voicemail.
“I suspect whoever was stealing her money had something to do with her brutal murder.”
District Police Commissioner for Maseru Rural, Senior Superintendent Mofokeng Kolo confirmed the tragic incident, adding: “Roma police received a report of this tragedy on Saturday and investigations to establish what could have happened, are in progress.
“We are still waiting for a post-mortem report which could help us establish how and when the woman died.
“The deceased’s 28-year-old grandson has since been arrested and is helping the police with their investigations.”