The case involving a couple charged with murdering their four-month old baby has been postponed to January for further investigations.
The couple, from Alabama near Klerksdorp, appeared before the Klerksdorp magistrate’s court on a charge of murder and five of contravening the Children’s Act following the death of their baby, allegedly from complications relating to malnutrition.
North West National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Henry Mamothame said advocate Riekie Kraus registered the state’s intention to transfer the matter to the High Court.
“An indictment will be sent to the office of the acting director of public prosecutions in the North West to authorise the transfer,” Mamothame said.
The couple is said to have stayed together for 15 years and have two boys, aged two and five, and two girls aged eight and 13.
The mother was arrested in May for allegedly assaulting her two-year-old son but was later released as she was breastfeeding her newborn at the time.
“Police reported the incident to the department of social development for social workers to intervene. The intervention led to four of the children being placed under the care of their maternal grandmother,” Mamothame said.
He said the mother was arrested again in September for allegedly assaulting her 13-year-old daughter at her mother’s house. She had allegedly hit her with clenched fists and kicked her before throwing her on the ground and stamping on her. She allegedly also assaulted her mother.
Mamothame said police investigations into the alleged assault led to the discovery that the baby died on August 13 in a Klerksdorp hospital.
“This information was declared by an uncle of the baby’s mother. Investigations discovered that in June 2021 she forcefully took her two sons from her mother to stay with her and her partner,” Mamothame said.
He said the uncle reported this incident to the designated social worker, who promised to do house visits to the accused.
“A report received from the social worker indicates on August 9, when he took groceries to the house of the accused, he found the two-year-old boy in a bad state of health with sores all over his face. He went back the following day and found the couple had left the four-month-old baby by herself. He alleged the baby looked emaciated. He collected his wife to assist him with the baby before taking her home with them,” he said.
Mamothame said the social worker and his wife took the baby to a Klerksdorp hospital on August 10 and she was immediately admitted.
“She died three days later. The attending paediatrician confirmed she died of malnutrition complications as she was not fed adequately.”
He said police investigations are continuing and two of the children will be assessed by forensic social workers.
The mother was arrested in September and her partner was arrested in October. The couple were denied bail and will remain in police custody until completion of the trial.