The body of a missing girl has been found in a wardrobe after a 12-day search, with neighbours then allegedly killing the murder suspect.
Boipelo Sesele, nine, disappeared while playing with other children on September 1 in Free State province in South Africa.
Witnesses said she had been speaking to a tall man in overalls before going with him to a tuck shop and was never seen alive again.
Members of the community went to investigate a shack not far from the child’s home after kids complained about a bad smell on Saturday afternoon, police have said.
However, the owner of the premises is said to have appeared and been attacked, later succumbing to his injuries.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Sam Makhele said local children allegedly complained of a “bad smell from a shack not far from Biopelo’s home”.
They alerted adults who had been assisting police in looking for the missing girl.
“They went to the shack and found it locked, forced entry and opened the wardrobe where the smell was coming from and found the body of Boipelo, then alerted the police,” continued Mr Makhele.
After the owner is alleged to have appeared “police tried to intervene, but were also attacked”, he said.
The suspect was eventually taken to safety but was later pronounced dead, with police continuing to monitor tensions in the area.
A local community leader who helped in the search, identifying himself as Mr Thebe, told SABC News a child reported the bad smell to him around 4pm.
He said on opening the shack door he found it “in a mess, it was all filthy there”.
Mr Thebe said Boipelo’s hand was “showing from outside” the wardrobe and when he opened it she was “seated inside”.
“She was decomposed. It broke me, but I thank God we have finally found closure,” he added.
The girl’s mum Lynette had initially reported her daughter missing after allegedly leaving the child to play with other children while she went to visit a friend.
On discovering Boipelo had disappeared, her mum was told by local kids about the incident with the tall man.