A 41-year-old woman who had become isolated over rumours that she was HIV positive killed her four children and then committed suicide at Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape police said.
Captain Mduduzi Godlwana said yesterday the five bodies were found on Wednesday at Mthambalala village.
"She left a suicide note - stating that she killed herself and her children with poison because community members believed she was HIV positive. She said they were gossiping about her."
He said according to the note, the rumours started spreading after another woman, who was involved with the dead woman's boyfriend, died of Aids-related illnesses last year.
"She said in the note that after rumours she became lonely because community members were avoiding her," Godlwana said.
The children, two boys and two girls, were aged eight, five, two and one.
"We found the bodies placed in an order of their age at the back of the house, in the garden, with the mother's body next to them.
"An empty bottle of milk, [which] we believe was poisoned, was found nearby," he said.
Police have opened an administering of poison docket. - Sapa