THE body of a 19-year-old boy who was doing Form Four at Mosi oa Tunya High School in Victoria Falls who is alleged to have committed suicide by hanging himself and was buried seven weeks ago was exhumed on Sunday last week, amid heartbreaking scenes from the relatives.
The family was granted an exhumation order after it emerged that foul play could have been involved in his death.
The body of Theophilus Mpuche which was interred at Norton Cemetery was taken to Parirenyatwa Hospital mortuary awaiting post-mortem to be conducted by a pathologist who is presently out of the country.
Theophilus was reportedly found hanging on 3 June from the balcony of a house where he was staying with his uncle in the resort town.
He was buried on 5 June, but no post-mortem was conducted.
Although the uncle could not be reached for comment, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident saying the family was “duly” assisted to have the body exhumed so that a post-mortem could be conducted by a pathologist so as to ascertain the “real” cause of the boy’s death.
There were also reports that before the alleged suicide the boy once went missing.
A relative told B-Metro that the boy’s mother Claris Patana who stays in Chegutu suspected foul play and demanded that the body be exhumed so that a post-mortem could be conducted.
This was after the boy’s uncle allegedly told her before burial that a post-mortem was conducted and that he was going to give her the results soon after the funeral wake.
The boy was staying with his uncle following the death of his father Maynard Mpuche in 2006.
Shockingly, it emerged three days after burial that a post-mortem was never conducted and it was waived at the instigation of the boy’s uncle.
“Everything is just suspicious,” said the relative.
“The report of a police officer who attended the scene is totally different from that of the uncle. There are also conflicting reports that the boy initially used an electric cord which broke before he took his school tie and used it to hang himself.
“There was also no suicide note and the boy’s mother cannot comprehend what actually led her son to kill himself. His face was also swollen on one side and the cotton wool which was stuffed in his nose had some blood stains.
“His tongue was also not protruding as what usually happens to people who would have hanged themselves. There were also no marks or discolouration around his neck, an indication that something which he had used to hang himself with had constricted the neck,” alleged a relative who refused to be named.
As if that is not enough, the stamp from the magistrate who reportedly waived the post-mortem was also not corroborated with a signature.
“The relatives of the boy’s mother were also suspicious why his uncle rushed to bring the body to Norton for burial before they waited for his mother to come to Victoria Falls and be told what really transpired.
“Just imagine a day before the boy is alleged to have committed suicide, they had been with him in Chegutu for their church’s annual conference and they didn’t even allow him to see his grandmother Ellen Patana.”
Following those fears the boy’s mother who is a teacher in Norton went and filed a report at Chegutu Police Station where the matter was later referred to Victoria Falls Police Station where it had been initially handled.
Theophilus’ mother and her relatives who were reportedly not happy with the way the matter was being handled by Victoria Falls police later approached police headquarters in Harare.
“The police officers who were investigating the case were not co-operating at all as they vainly tried to convince them not to pursue the matter. Whenever they phoned them asking for feedback they would not answer their phones and that impelled them to approach the PGHQ who helped them to have the body exhumed on 26 July,” said the relative.
Although the boy’s mother who is reportedly still trying to come to terms with the circumstances that led to the death of her son could not be reached for comment, her younger sister Shylet Patana confirmed their devastation and “mystery” circumstances surrounding Theophilus’s death.
“We are in an incredibly difficult situation. It’s just so sad. This is so horrible for the family. His mother is really disturbed and for now she didn’t want to discuss the issue with anyone until a post-mortem is conducted,” a sobbing Shylet said.
She said when they took the body to Parirenyatwa Hospital mortuary the attendant ill-treated them.
“We went through a lot. We were made to look for people we paid to exhume the body and we were also made to sit at the back of the truck with the body on our way to Parirenyatwa Hospital mortuary where the attendant shouted at us while refusing to take the body. He charged at us saying we should take the body to a private parlour as punishment as to why we demanded it to be exhumed,” she said.