POLICE have picked up a traditional healer for questioning over the missing head of the seven-year-old Murehwa boy, Tapiwa Makore, suspected to have been murdered for ritual purposes.
Body parts taken in a ritual murder which occurred at Makore Village under Chief Mangwende, would have to be processed in particular ways, the superstitious believe, so that they bring good fortune and riches.
Police started hunting for the traditional healer they believed was implicated in this killing soon after they arrested the two men they suspect were the actual killers.
Only a torso and legs were recovered from the dismembered body, but the head is still missing.
In their investigations, police recovered the head of another child, a 12-year-old, in the same village, but think it may have been exhumed from a grave.
Although the police did not disclose the name of the traditional healer, they confirmed he was being questioned.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said police have established that they had been given a lot of misleading information on the death of the boy and people were hiding crucial information.
“We have realised that some people are not telling the truth and they are hiding crucial information. But we will surely get to the bottom of the matter and the truth will come out,” said Asst-Comm Nyathi.
Tapiwa was allegedly murdered for ritual purposes by his uncle Tapiwa Makore (Senior) who used his own domestic worker, Tafadzwa Shamba (40).
The boy was kidnapped in the family garden in the village.
Shamba, a herdsman, and the boy’s uncle have since been arrested and taken to court facing murder charges.
They now await trial while in remand prison. They were remanded in custody to October 26 in absentia yesterday, as they are still assisting police with investigations.
Meanwhile, police have taken the head of a 12-year-old child recently found in the same village for forensic analysis.
There has been no report of another missing child in that age group, creating room for suspicion that the head could have been exhumed from a grave.
“The other head found in Makore village is now subject to forensic analysis. So far no report of a missing person falling in that category has been received by the police. We are still investigating that matter,” said Asst-Comm Nyathi.
During investigations, Shamba recently told detectives he killed the boy by cutting off the head with a knife in the dead of the night, while the boy’s uncle was holding a torch.
Shamba said after the alleged murder, he carried a black plastic bag containing the head and the dismembered body while his employer, who is the boy’s uncle, carried another bag containing the arms and legs.
He led the team of detectives to the uncle’s homestead where he said he fed the boy, drugged him with Skokiaan beer (Chikokiyana) and locked him up in a room for hours.
Shamba said he met the boy’s uncle around midnight and took the boy to a nearby mountain, where they allegedly killed him.
“Around midnight, we opened the door and I carried the boy, who was still in deep slumber to a mountain in the village. Mr Makore carried the knives and the plastic bags. While here (in the mountain), I pressed the boy to the ground and cut off his head with a sharp knife, while his uncle was holding a torch for lighting.
“I also cut off the hands and legs, but we packed the parts in different plastic bags. I carried the one with the torso and the head while Mr Makore carried another one containing the legs and hands,” he said.
At the scene, investigators saw human waste, believed to have been excreted by the boy during the murder.
Shamba told detectives that he cleaned the scene of the blood and set the grass on fire to destroy evidence.
He said while walking back to Makore’s homestead, he felt the load was becoming heavier before dumping the torso near Mr Summer Murwira’s homestead.
While at Makore’s homestead, Shamba said he was instructed to put the head in one of the rooms, which he did.
The following day, Shamba said he dumped the arms and legs at a nearby grave as police investigations were intensifying.