Mother kills child before committing suicide
By Candice Turner
Police have found a mother with her throat cut and her strangled child lying next to her.
Six-year-old Caitlyn McDermott's body and that of her mother were found in a room at the Eco-Motel in Kempton Park on Monday afternoon.
According to police sources, the young mother had strangled her daughter before slitting her own throat.
"A full investigation will be conducted," North-East Rand police spokesperson Superintendent Eugene Opperman said on Thursday.
Sources from Caitlyn's school in Boksburg, SpaceKidz, told The Star that both Caitlyn and her mother were suffering from a long-term illness. It was suggested that this might have been the motive for the killings.
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Mandy Hunt, one of Caitlyn's teachers, said the little girl was a bubbly child.
"She was a haemophiliac and bled very easily, but I can't understand why this would happen."
Hunt added that many of the children at the school had been traumatised by the news.
According to Opperman, people staying at the motel suspected something was wrong when the mother did not surface from her room for a few days, and called the police.
"She was in a very emotional state and I could hear her crying all night," one recalled.
"I knew something was wrong when I could hear no sounds coming from the room, especially since she had a young child, and children tend to be noisy."
Last week, a father drowned his one-year-old son and two-year-old niece in a pool in Alberton after a family dispute.
What would possess a parent to murder his or her own child?
Nomsundo Mogapi, a clinical psychologist at the South African Institute for Traumatic Stress, puts it down to perceptions of worthlessness and hopelessness among mothers and fathers.
"Parents of today are under immense pressure, especially financially," she said.
"Many of them perceive the world to be a terrible place and feel they cannot leave their children behind to fend for themselves in such a place. So they take their lives too."
According to Mogapi, this is a growing trend in our society, and extended suicide, as it is known, is on the increase.