A 13-year-old Grade Seven learner from Destiny, Mutare, consumed rat poison on Sunday and died in the wee hours of Monday after being reprimanded by her mother for coming home late.
Shylet Matanhire, who was a student at Maps Primary School and was on the verge of sitting for her final examinations later this month, endured hours of excruciating pain before her death.
Shylet reportedly apologised to her mother and aunt for consuming the toxic substance before she was rushed to a nearby clinic.
She was transferred to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital where she died in the wee hours of Monday morning.
According to interviewed relatives, Shylet left her siblings alone and went away with a 15-year-old boy (name withheld) who stays nearby.
She only came home around 8pm.
“Shylet was a well-behaved child, and we did not hear about any shenanigans before Sunday when she got in trouble for coming home late,” said her aunt, Ms Sophia Mazeya.
“Her mother, Mai Matanhire, had gone to a nearby mountain for prayers and left Shylet at her home with her siblings. After hearing that Shylet had come home late, Mai Matanhire quizzed her about the issue.
“She disciplined her daughter and advised her to desist from staying out late. I think this did not go down well with Shylet as she stormed into her mother’s room. She took rat poison and consumed it.
“She later confessed that she had taken rat poison. Her mother raised alarm and neighbours quickly rushed her to a clinic at Acid shops before she was transferred to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital where she died in the early hours of Monday,” said Ms Mazeya.
Shylet was laid to rest at Dangamvura Cemetery on Tuesday afternoon.
The deceased’s neighbour only identified as Mai Banda said Shylet vehemently denied being in love with the 15-year-old boy.
“She was seen with the boy who happens to be my brother. We quizzed her over the issue, but she vehemently denied that she was in love with the boy.
“We also quizzed the boy over the issue, but he also denied being in love with Shylet. She was disciplined by her mother afterwards. We later learnt from her mother that Shylet had consumed rat poison. We knew her as a well-behaved girl, and we don’t know what really prompted her to cut her beautiful life short like that,” said Mai Banda.
Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Norbert Muzondo confirmed the incident and said investigations are in progress.
He said the post mortem results revealed that Shylet died of organophosphate poisoning.
“We are yet to get more details on what prompted her to consume the poison as the matter came to our light after Shylet’s admission and subsequent death. Investigations are in progress,” said Inspector Muzondo.
What causes organophosphate poisoning? Organophosphate poisoning occurs after dermal, respiratory or oral exposure to organophosphate pesticides.
Symptoms include increased saliva and tear production, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, small eye pupils, sweating, muscle tremors, and confusion.