A Bishop Lavis mother who tried, but failed to kill herself and ended up killing her one-year-old daughter, may face a murder charge.
Tuesday’s incident brings to seven the number of cases involving children who have been abandoned or murdered, allegedly by their mothers, during this month alone.
The 32-year-old mother left suicide notes saying she was struggling financially because her daughter’s father was not supporting their only child and no one was helping her.
Police suspect she had tried to take both their lives by overdosing on pills and feeding her child other medication.
While the police continued investigating the Bishop Lavis incident on Wednesday, a 14-month-old girl allegedly poisoned by her mother in Philippi last week was buried. The girl’s eight-year-old sister, who had also been poisoned, was recovering in hospital, while their mother, 29, was in prison charged with murder and attempted murder.
Police spokeswoman Marie Louw said the incident in Bishop Lavis was on the day the one-year-old girl’s mother was supposed to have taken her to enrol in a creche.
The girl’s grandmother had left her daughter and the child at home, expecting them to go to the creche. But when she returned in the afternoon, she found her grandchild dead on the floor near her unconscious daughter.
It was not clear how long they had been there.
Louw said the police found boxes of tablets belonging to the grandmother, along with a baby bottle.
“We’ve sent the bottle for testing to see if tablets were put in the bottle. We’re also looking into whether the mother gave her daughter tablets orally,” she said.
Louw said officers found suicide notes written by the mother saying her daughter’s father was not supporting their child and she was struggling financially.
Louw said it appeared the mother had gathered all the tablets she could find in the house and had taken them.
She said according to family members it was not the first time the woman had tried to commit suicide.
After visiting her daughter in Tygerberg Hospital on Wednesday, the child’s grandmother said she was in shock.
“I’m sick in my heart. My daughter is okay but my grandchild is gone. My daughter isn’t talking to me. That was her only child,” she said in a telephone interview.
The grandmother confirmed the tablets used belonged to her. She said she was too traumatised to say anything further.