A 32-year-old mother from Swakopmund was arrested on suspicion that she killed her daughter – aged nearly three years – and attempted to commit suicide by trying to set herself alight on Monday night.
The woman, who was arrested the same night, allegedly drove 112 kilometres from Swakopmund to a deserted stretch of beach between Henties Bay and Terrace Bay to set herself on fire.
Indications are that the suspect, said to be an employee of Husab Mine, murdered her daughter by suffocating her with a cloth dipped in camphor oil and then drove with the child’s corpse to a distant stretch of beach with the intention of committing suicide.
She, after reportedly killing the child, sent the father a chilling message to say she had killed his daughter.
The incident – which sent shockwaves through the coastal community – was confirmed yesterday by Police Inspector Erastus Iikuyu, who told New Era it is not yet clear what lead to the heinous attack on the defenceless child.
“Why she did it remains a mystery to all of us. What could possible have gone so wrong that it forces you to take your own child’s life,” a shocked Iikuyu asked.
According to Iikuyu, the suspect’s family on Monday reported her missing, as she was not at home nor answering phone calls.
“We organised a search party with the Neighbourhood Watch after we determined her location through her cellphone,” he said.
The woman was later found by the police and members of Swakopmund Neighbourhood Watch, as she was attempting to set herself on fire. Iikuyu said she had collected firewood and had already arranged it under the car when she was found.
“We are so puzzled about this incident. We don’t know what triggered it and the reasons for her actions are not known, but it is indeed shocking,” Iikuyu said. He added that the suspect is in police custody and would be brought before the Swakopmund Magistrate’s court on a charge of murder today.
Police Inspector Kauna Shikwambi described the incident as “saddening”.
“This is terrible and we need to put an end to it. What has the child done? Adults must learn to solve problems amicably without hurting anyone,” she said yesterday.