FEAR has, once again, gripped the Headlands community amid the discovery of the remains of two male bodies – who villagers believe were murdered by muggers on the prowl in the area.
Villagers in Headlands who spoke to our News Crew said both victims were unemployed and survived on menial jobs.
They said the victims were never known as bad eggs in the community, adding that what informed the action of their assailants was yet to be known and made public.
First to be identified was the body of 16-year-old Takudzwa Chitengu, of Plot 22, Woodlands B. His remains were discovered on May 27. The body was in an advanced state of decomposition.
On the same day, around 3pm, the body of Kingsley Chigadza (19) of Mutiro Village, under Chief Makoni, in Nyazura, who was staying in Kaunye Village in Headlands, was discovered about 300 metres away from his homestead. Chigadza's body was found slumped in tall grass, face up.
When police arrived at the crime scene, they found dogs scavenging on the body. The body was fully clothed. There were no struggle marks or any spoor to suggest that it had been dragged from any other place.
Kingsley's lower jaw had been skinned off by dogs, so was the upper part of the chest and oesophagus – which had been mauled to the extent that one could see the diaphragm and internal parts of the body. Some villagers claimed that the heart had been removed, leaving an intimidating skeletal outlook.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Rusape is hunting down the suspected killers.
The News Crew gathered that beside Takudzwa's body was a bottle suspected to have been containing some poisonous substance. The incident has heightened tension in the community, with villagers suspecting murder. Villagers feared that the latest murders could be linked to several past attacks on children and women.
"Takudzwa stayed with Victoria Masiya (26), of Plot 43, Woodlands. On April 13, he went to herd cattle with Mitchel Dhatsiwa (9), the daughter of Victoria, and is alleged to have assaulted her. The minor girl rushed home to report the assault to her mother. Takudzwa (allegedly) disappeared into the bush and never came back. Victoria later went to Headlands Police Station where she lodged an assault charge (of her daughter) by Takudzwa as well as a missing person report (of Takudzwa)," said Manicaland provincial police spokesperson Inspector Enock Chishiri.
Villagers are less impressed and feel the matter must be thoroughly investigated.
"We feel there could be an attempt to conceal what actually transpired. This matter must be thoroughly investigated. We suspect more than meets the eye," said a member of the Chitengu family.
Retired Colonel Topira Mutasa weighed in arguing that the placement of a bottle containing some suspected poisonous substance beside Takudzwa's body might have been meant to divert attention.
"It could be a decoy. There is need for pathological tests because the version being given about what caused his death is just hard to buy. Somebody should explain what happened when that child made the report to her mother and thereafter. The mere presence of a bottle containing suspected poison does not mean the boy took poison and died," said Rtd Col Mutasa.
The News Crew also established that before his disappearance, Kingsley had been advised by Sarah Nyamupingidza (63) to go and collect his payment for a menial job he had done for Dorris Nyamupingidza at Headlands Business Centre from her. He was allegedly given $60 instead of $40 and did not return home.
He only returned home on May 20 and along the way, he was given $50 by Tenson Sigauke to pass on to Nyamupingidza. On arriving home, he was asked to separate the money into smaller denominations. He went away and never returned.
Detective Sergeant Orton Chiromo, of CID Rusape, said Kingsley was spotted at a beer-drinking binge at Headlands Beer Hall. The deceased allegedly hooked up and spent the night with a commercial sex worker identified as Sekai Mukanganise. She resides at House Number 13, Headlands location.
Det Sgt Chiromo said the following day Kingsley and Sekai went to Macheke on a drinking spree and returned to their love nest around midnight. Sekai claimed that Kingsely left her residence on May 22 at around 9am, going home. Diana Tsuro (20), of the same residence, claimed to have seen him leaving Sekai's place.
It was not immediately clear what happened to Kingsley as he did not reach home and his body was discovered on May 24, around 3pm by Francis Tengende.
Tengende was herding cattle with two other minors.
Tengende said he advised Caleb Muopesa (43), who checked the body before making a police report.
Kingsley's body was discovered lying in long grasses 300 metres away from the Nyamupingidza homestead and about 15 metres from a nearby footpath. The body was taken to Rusape General Hospital for a post-mortem.