By- A five-year-old Nyanga girl recently disappeared for six days before her dismembered body was discovered on a mountain in a suspected ritual murder that has left the Messengers’ Camp community in shock.
Audrey Murira’s three limbs were discovered at three different locations on the mountain.
The upper part of the body, which was in an advanced state of decomposition, was found lying face-down, while bloodstains were seen at four different positions.
A suspect in the murder case, Philemon Chikata (38), is also a resident at Messengers’ Camp.
Chikata was initially arrested on kidnapping charges and appeared before Nyanga magistrate, Ms Notebulgah Muchineripi, on Monday.
He was not asked to plead and was remanded in custody to December 20.
Mr Tafara Chawatama prosecuted.
However, further investigations by the police saw Chitaka being implicated in Audrey’s murder.
He is now expected back in the dock today (Friday) to face murder charges.
Audrey was reported missing by her mother, Ms Lydia Ndarangwa, on December 4 after she had been last seen in the company of Chikata.
Ms Ndarangwa is still to come to terms with her daughter’s brutal murder and could hardly speak during a telephone interview with The Manica Post on Tuesday afternoon.
“I think you are a parent too, and you can imagine how it feels to lose a child in such a brutal manner. I am at a loss of words, and there is nothing much I can say. I am in pain. This is a harrowing experience, and I know God will deal with the killer.
“It is not easy for a parent to raise a child and then someone comes and chop her dead like a piece of wood. Mwari ngavamurange (God should punish the killer), and I know it will happen soon,” she said before emotions got the better of her.
Chikata’s arrest on Sunday had its equal share of drama as agitated residents were baying for his blood.
Witnesses said Chikata had to hide under the bed as the mob threatened to descend on him like a tornado.
He was flashed out of his hiding place by the police and taken to Nyanga Police Station.
Acting Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Wiseman Chinyoka said according to witnesses, the late Audrey was playing with her friends on December 4 when Chikata came along.
Assistant Inspector Chinyoka said Audrey told one of her friends, Evidence Nyawaburu (six), that she was going with her friend (Chikata) and left running.
It is alleged that Audrey and Chikata were last seen walking towards the latter’s house by Ms Margaret Mutambanashe around midday.
Later during the afternoon, Audrey’s mother, Ms Ndarangwa, started looking for her but could not locate her.
She informed other neighbours and they joined her in the search.
A missing person report was made at Nyanga Police Station.
“Searches were done in and around Messengers’ Court and Destiny residential areas by both the police and the public but it was all to no avail. Chikata was picked and interviewed by the police. He was charged with kidnapping and was remanded in custody pending further investigations.
“On December 10, police received information from a resident, Ms Sophia Murambwa of Destiny, that she had seen a pair of blue sandals along a pathway about 200 metres from area’s last house. Police officers proceeded to the scene and found the pair shoes,” said Assistant Inspector Chinyoka.
He said Ms Murambwa positively indentified Audrey’s shoes and the police combed the area in search of the young girl.
“Body remains of a child were found about 300 metres from the base of the mountain where the shoes had been found. Audrey’s father, Mr Benjamin Murira, managed to identify the remains as that of his missing child through the clothes she was last seen wearing as well as her hairstyle.
“The remains were taken to Nyanga District Hospital mortuary as authorities await for forensic experts from Harare,” said Assistant Inspector Chinyoka.