Three arrested for brutal murder that saw toddler left with parents’ bodies

Three people have been arrested in connection with the October 2020 murder of a young couple near Tzaneen. Stock photo.
Three people have been arrested in connection with the October 2020 murder of a young couple near Tzaneen. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/BELCHONOK

Limpopo police have arrested three people suspected of brutally murdering a young couple near Tzaneen, leaving their toddler in the house with their bodies.

Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said the arrests were made on Sunday, five months after the murders of 18-year-old Lucia Malapane and her 21-year-old boyfriend Nius Malatjie Ga-Rapitsi at Bolobedu outside Tzaneen.

The couple were found dead in their house by Malatjie’s neighbour, who was also his employer.

“The businessman, aged 47, had apparently gone to the house to find out why his employee did not report for work that morning when he made the gruesome discovery. The couple’s 12-month-old baby was found sitting next to the bodies,” said Mojapelo.

“The matter was reported to the police and on arrival at the scene, the deceased were found with gruesome injuries.”

The young woman appeared to have been raped.

Community members suspected the neighbour had something to do with the incident.

“An angry mob from the village went on the rampage, torching the businessman’s shop and one motor vehicle. They proceeded to his house, burnt it and, in the process, killed livestock including chickens, goats and pigs. The suspects then fled the scene and no arrests were made,” said Mojapelo.

On Sunday, the police arrested the three people they suspect attacked the couple.

“The suspects were found in possession of items belonging to the deceased,” Mojapelo said.

The trio are expected to appear in court to face charges of house breaking, murder, rape and robbery.

“The motive for the brutal murders will be determined by ongoing police investigations,” Mojapelo said.

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