A three-year-old Mpumalanga girl who disappeared two weeks ago has been found dead with her ears missing.
Police said the girl's half-naked body was found in the veld on Sunday. She went missing on April 4.
"We have already arrested a man suspected of killing the child," Superintendent Abie Khoabane said.
Little Senaye Chauke of Extension 12 in Embalenhle, near Secunda, was last seen in the company of the arrested man.
"The 22-year-old man lived on the same property as the child's family," Khoabane said.
He said the man had disappeared from his home on the same day the girl went missing.
The man was arrested on Thursday while on his way back to the property.
Residents had already told police about his disappearance and that they suspected he was with the girl wherever he was.
Khoabane said the search for the girl and the neighbour continued until Thursday when the man called his mother to say he was in Bronkhorstspruit.
His parents alerted the police who accompanied them to Bronkhorstspruit. On the way, he called them to say he was in Delmas. The police found him there and made the arrest.
He allegedly denied any knowledge of the girl's whereabouts.
On Sunday at about 9am, police received a call from a local man who had found the body of the child while collecting firewood.
"On arriving at the scene, we found that her left ear had been cut off and part of the right ear had also been cut off."
The suspect appeared in the Evander magistrate's court yesterday and the case was postponed to Monday to allow him time to arrange for a lawyer from the Legal Aid Board.