Toddler survived a week among decomposing bodies

The 2-year-old KwaZulu-Natal child who was found in a home with the decomposing bodies of her family members over the weekend was allegedly confined to the house for a week before being found.

A community member and a police source said the toddler was alone in the home in Thornwood, Marianhill, for several days before a local pastor found her.

"For at least seven days she was in the house. That is what pathologists are saying," eThekwini metro ward 14 ANC chairperson Mthokozisi Gasa told News24.

The family was allegedly killed by a 21-year-old man who lived at the house. He allegedly stabbed his mother, girlfriend and 3-month-old child to death before hanging himself.

"The small infant was found by the grace of God. We do not know how or why she was not harmed by him."

Gasa said the pastor who found the family described the "intense scene".

"He went to fetch the family for church on the Sunday, like he always does. However, when he got there and knocked there was no answer. He immediately noticed a strange smell."

He said the pastor then called on neighbours to help in gaining entry to the home.

Community 'shaken'

Gasa, who said some of the deceased were ANC members, added that it was a difficult sight for all who went into the home.   

"It was really horrific. There is no logical explanation whatsoever. To do something like this is just out of this world for us. The community is very shaken."

He said there was an outpouring of sympathy for the surviving toddler.

"We just cannot imagine what this child is going through. To have survived in those conditions and not eating for seven days. We are just thankful she is getting care now from social welfare and family."

A spokesperson for eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede said she had visited the community and passed along her sympathies.

"The mayor condemns the incident. Her office has offered support to the family. The funeral preparations would be logistically handled through the mayor's office," Mthunzi Gumede said.

Police investigations are continuing.