POLICE have launched a major investigation after a 32-year-old woman died mysteriously with her two children and their two-year-old cousin on Monday.
Angeline Mabhiza, of Nago 1 Village under Headman Nemarundwi in Zimuto, Masvingo Province, is thought to have killed her children, Leon, 7, Taurai, 6, and Farai Mabhiza, 2, with a pesticide. She later drank the same liquid and died.
Our news crew visited Mabhiza's homestead yesterday and met distraught relatives and mourners who struggled to explain what happened.
Farai, according to relatives, was found dead by pupils from Nemarundwi Secondary School while Leon, Angeline and Taurai were alive but frothing from the poison while lying down at the homestead. The four pupils had visited the homestead intending to ask for water to drink.
It is suspected that Angeline used a cotton-spraying chemical to terminate the children's lives and her own, relatives say.
Headman Dzingirai Nago, a relative, said he rushed to the homestead after the pupils notified him of the tragedy. He said Angeline was visited by a female neighbour around 9AM on Monday and did not show any signs of trouble.
"She was in a jovial mood and warmly welcomed her neighbour who found the children playing on the verandah. After the woman left, Angeline remained doing her daily chores and villagers who passed by the homestead around 10AM testified seeing her with no suspicion of trouble," he said.
Headman Nago said he was shocked when the pupils came to his homestead in the afternoon saying Angeline and the children were lying down in pain.
"The boys asked me to accompany them to Angeline's homestead so that I could see for myself. Upon reaching the homestead, I was shocked to see Angeline lying helplessly on the veranda with her children. The young one (Farai) had already died," he said.
Headman Nago said he tried to contact Farai's mother, Nyunyuto, who could not answer her mobile phone.
"I then informed other relatives and villagers in the area who also attended the scene," he said.
Headman Nago said the villagers rushed Taurai to Masvingo General Hospital leaving Angeline and Taurai groaning in pain at the veranda. The two died shortly afterwards.
He said a report was made to the police who attended the scene around 7PM and took the dead bodies to the hospital mortuary. Headman Nago said Taurai later died at Masvingo General Hospital.
Masvingo police yesterday said an investigation was underway.