This killing spree has finally assumed a maddening height, now that helpless children have become preys and victims.A mentally disabled man has been linked to the murder of a 12-year-old girl from Amaoti in Durban.

The girl’s body was found dumped in the bush near her grandparents’ home on Wednesday soon after her mother sent her on an errand.

Thobeka Ndlovu, a Grade 7 pupil of Zwakele Primary School, was sent to fetch her aunt’s lunch box from her grandparents’ home, a stone’s throw away from her home, but never returned.

According to her family, she was allegedly strangled and the lunch box, still containing food, was found next to her body.

Her family said they were puzzled that the container full of food was next to her, which convinced them that she was killed elsewhere and her body placed at the scene later.

According to the shocked and angry neighbours, who spoke to the on Thursday, Thobeka was last seen being chased by a local mentally-disabled man before her body was found.

The community are now calling for the man to be removed from the area.

They claimed the man habitually chased children whenever they passed his home.

Thobeka’s distraught mother, Ntombizodwa Ndlovu, said her daughter was one of the children in the area who feared this man.

She said whenever she sent Thobeka on an errand, she would watch until her daughter passed the man’s house, to make sure that she was safe.

“She was terrified of him. On the day of the incident she asked me to watch her until she walked past the man’s home, and I did as usual. I then went back into the house,” she said.

“When I realised that she was gone for about 30 minutes, I went to look for her, but she was nowhere to be found,” said the mother.

Ndlovu searched the area for her daughter and alerted the neighbours.

“We looked everywhere including the bush behind my parents’ house, at the spot where the body was found, and she was not there,” she said.

“The neighbours found her lifeless body on the same spot where I had looked several times, and there was nothing there,” she said.

Neighbours, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they now feared for their own children if the man was not removed from the community.

Thobeka was the eldest of Ndlovu’s four children.

She was still in shock.

“She was a sweet girl. Always with a smile and loved school very much,” Ndlovu said.

“She was always on high alert and was afraid of strangers because she walked a long distance to school.”

Thulani Zwane, provincial police spokesperson, said live electric wires were found near the body.

It was not yet known what caused Thobeka’s death.

“Police, for now, are investigating an inquest and would wait for the post-mortem results,” he said.