Three-year-old girl rescued by police after spending days with her decomposing dad hanging from the roof

An open grave

Police in Limpopo found a Limpopo girl who had spent days with the body of his decomposing father, while the body of the little girl's mother was found buried in a shallow grave in the yard. Picture SAPS

Published Feb 18, 2024


Police at Nebo, in Limpopo’s Sekhukhune district are investigating a case of murder and an inquest after a 38-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman were found dead at home in Ga-Marishane Dihlaganeng.

The bodies of the husband and wife were found on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, according to Limpopo police spokesperson, Colonel Malesela Ledwaba.

“Police received information from neighbours about a house with an unpleasant smell. Upon arrival at the said house, the doors were locked, and they knocked with no answer,” Ledwaba said.

“They (police) forced entry and found a man hanging on the roof with a rope, in an advance state of decomposition.”

Inside the house, there was a three-year-old girl, the daughter of the deceased man.

“She was immediately rushed to the police after the door opened, and she was taken to the nearest hospital for medical attention,” said Ledwaba.

It is alleged that a suicide note was also found in the house.

“The Search and Rescue Unit and K9 Unit were summoned to help with the partner's (mother of the child) search. During the search, on Thursday evening, the police noticed a shallow grave close to the house that was filled with firewood,” Ledwaba said.

Piles of firewood covering the shallow grave where the little girl’s mother was buried. Picture SAPS

“They dug the grave and discovered a body of a woman, wrapped in blankets. It was in an advanced state of decomposition,” said Ledwaba.

The body of the little girl's mother was found buried in a shallow grave inside the yard. Picture SAPS

Police said a postmortem will be conducted to determine the cause of the couple’s deaths.

The deceased parents have been identified by police as Johannes Mahlaba, 38, and Magabjane Cecilia Maila 34.

Meanwhile, provincial commissioner of police in Limpopo, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe has condemned the incident, calling upon couples having domestic problems to seek help from relevant professionals “to avoid unnecessary loss of life”.

Provincial commissioner of police in Limpopo, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe. Photo: Supplied/SAPS

Police investigations into the incidents are still continuing.

On Friday, IOL reported that Police Minister Bheki Cele has expressed concern about the spike in the murder rate in the country, with 7,710 people murdered between October and December last year.

Cele said this was an increase of 2.1% compared to the same period last year.