The body of a man from the Imakhandini suburb of Bulawayo, who was killed for ritual purposes, has remained stuck at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) morgue for a month as the family demands the deceased’s missing body parts before he is buried.

Freeman Moyo (41) was allegedly killed by Lethukotula Maphosa (25), Nomsa Ncube (44) and Catherine Gumbo (57) on March 12 in Mbalabala. The trio allegedly cut off the hands of the deceased. The deceased’s aunt, Mrs Zwana Ncube, said Moyo left his home in Binga district several years ago to look for work on farms around Esigudeni and Mbalabala.

“Police told us that Freeman met one of the suspects at the Mbalabala Business Center and the two agreed to spend a night at his house. “The next morning she demanded $20 for sexual services provided to the deceased, but he offered her R20 and $400 in local currency,” she said.

Mrs Ncube said the suspect became angry and informed her elder sister who in turn alerted her boyfriend about Nkai and the three gathered and confronted the now deceased.

“They confronted the deceased and demanded money from Freeman who indicated he would collect it from one of his relatives in Isigodini. Along the way, Freeman tried to escape, but was hit by a rock and collapsed.”

“The police informed us three days later that a decomposed body had been found in the bush between Mbalabala and Essigodini. We identified the body as that of my nephew and it was in a bad condition and his hands were cut off.”

Maphosa, Ncube and Gambo have since appeared before the Gwanda Magistrate’s Court on charges of murder.

“We have tried to ask the three accused what they did with the missing body parts, but they are adamant. We now strongly suspect that they killed the deceased for ritual purposes,” Ms Ncube said.

An investigator close to the investigation told the Chronicle that one of the murder suspects was a member of the neighborhood watch committee and had access to the handcuffs used on the deceased.

“After the deceased failed to pay the US$20 he promised to give one of the accused in exchange for sexual services provided to him, the three met and demanded the money. “He led them to his house in Isigodini where he claimed the money was,” the investigator said.

“It is not clear what happened along the way, but the accused handcuffed the deceased and an altercation occurred during which he was hit with a rock by one of the accused.”

The investigator said that the trio hatched a plan to cut off the deceased’s hands with a machete.

“They also tried to hang the body on a tree branch, but they abandoned the plan and left the body in the bush,” he added.

Ms Ncube said the police had since advised them to bury the deceased after failing to locate the missing parts of the body.

We will not bury him as long as his body parts are missing. We want the people who killed him to tell us where they placed the deceased’s hands. “His body is still in the morgue and we will sit down as a family to find a way forward,” she said.

According to court papers, a machete with a wooden handle, which was used by the accused, was found in Maphosa’s bedroom. A stone was also found at the crime scene, which was used to hit the deceased on the forehead.

The trio was detained pending investigation. The state opposed their release on bail, arguing that the three were likely to flee due to the seriousness of the alleged crime. Announce

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