Mother whose stolen baby was found alive had suicide thoughts

Pretty Mphenemene is reunited with her daughter Koketso who was stolen by a woman who had pretended to be helping her mother find a job in a Benoni mall. / THULANI MBELE
Pretty Mphenemene is reunited with her daughter Koketso who was stolen by a woman who had pretended to be helping her mother find a job in a Benoni mall. / THULANI MBELE

A mother whose baby was stolen at a mall on the East Rand had suicidal thoughts before she was reunited with her daughter yesterday.

Baby Koketso was only 11 days old when she was stolen from her mother Pretty Mphemeneme, 43, at Lakeside Mall in Benoni.

Mphemeneme was lured to the mall by a woman who promised her a job.

She was reunited with baby Koketso yesterday after police found her on Tuesday morning at a house in Maphupheni, near Daveyton.

"I don't want to lie, I was going to kill myself because I couldn't live with the fact that my baby was taken from my own hands after I was lured into a job scam out of desperation," Mphemeneme said.

She said she was overjoyed when police gave her the good news on Tuesday morning.

Mphenemene said she was happy to have found her baby safe but was heartbroken that Koketso, who is now over a month old, had lost a lot of weight.

The mother of four said she was tricked by a woman who befriended her after meeting at Kempston clinic in Benoni.

"I took the baby for her first check-up, she was three days old, so we began chatting with this woman who presented herself as Katlego until I confided in her and told her I was unemployed.

"She promised me a job and we promised to see each other more so she can help me get a job."

At the mall, she said the woman gave her money to go to Checkers store and buy snacks. When she came back, the woman had vanished with the baby.

Provincial police spokesperson Capt Mavela Masondo said the suspect had not yet been arrested, however, they hope to make an arrest soon.

"We have spoken to the partner of the alleged snatcher who told police that he did not know the baby was stolen."

Police are now looking for Queen Mabu Mathabathe, 31, for questioning.

Masondo said, according to the partner, the woman was pregnant and he thought the baby was theirs.

"The man has cooperated with us and we took him in for questioning and have released him," said Masondo.

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