By Sifiso Ngwenya
A woman from Bulawayo is currently evading authorities after allegedly assaulting and killing her six-year-old stepdaughter.
The incident occurred when the child refused to comply with the stepmother’s instruction to wake up from sleep and use the toilet.
The police have apprehended the girl’s father, David Zhou, aged 47, on charges of attempting to conceal the shocking crime.
The stepmother involved in the incident has been identified as Priscilla Muchape, aged 33 and the family, including the deceased child, her eight-year-old sister, and the stepmother, resided in the Northend suburb at the time.
According to a statement by Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube, the events unfolded on May 26, 2023.
“On the 26th of May 2023, the now deceased and her sister were awakened by their stepmother Priscilla Muchape during the night to go to the toilet.
“The now deceased refused to wake up and this angered their stepmother who assaulted her with open hands, kicking her stomach and pushed her against the wall,” Inspector Ncube said
The girl collapsed after letting out a scream, which prompted the father, David Zhou, to wake up from his slumber.
They attempted to administer first aid but were unsuccessful. They quickly arranged for transportation and rushed the child to United Bulawayo Hospitals.
Upon arrival at the hospital, the father provided false information to the medical staff, claiming that the deceased child was an epileptic patient who had suffered a severe seizure, causing her to collapse and hit her head against the wall.
The postmortem examination, conducted on May 29, 2023, revealed multiple bruises on the victim’s body, indicating that she had suffered physical abuse rather than an epileptic episode.
The cause of death was determined to be brain injury.
Inspector Ncube said the injuries inflicted on the deceased child were a result of abuse by her stepmother, dispelling the false claim of epilepsy.
He warned the public against covering up crimes in order to protect relationships with suspects.
Furthermore, he urged anyone with relevant information to come forward and assist in the apprehension of Priscilla Muchape.