In a bizarre incident that took place at Seronga village last Tuesday, a 50-year-old woman drowned her 11-months-old granddaughter in the delta, allegedly when she was sleep walking.
According to the police, Kedibonye Molato of Kanana ward, who was seemingly confused at the time of the incident, walked to the delta at midnight and walked into the deep waters, with the baby strapped to her back with a blanket.
“She told us that when she left her house, she was in a dazed state and had no idea where she was going and that she only came to her senses when she was deep in the delta. It appears she then swam back to shore,” explained the Seronga Police Station Commander, Superintendent Olefile Badisang.
With only a blanket strapped to her back, Molato is said to have removed it somewhere next to the water and walked to a nearby house seemingly in a confused state.
“The owners of that house alerted the police. One of them recognised her and since she knew the woman was staying with a baby, she asked her where the child was and she told them that she thinks she was in the delta,” Badisang explained further.
The blanket was later found next to the water, still unknotted, a sign that the baby could have slipped off it and most likely having been washed off by the water. The baby’s body was later discovered floating in the water. It has since been taken for post-mortem and results are not yet out.
At the time of incident, the baby’s mother was said to have gone for work outside the village having left the baby under the care of its grandmother and a 70-year old great-grandmother.
However when the grandmother walked to the delta in the middle of the night that fateful Tuesday, the great-grandmother was away in Shakawe, where she was to attend a funeral.
Meanwhile Shakawe magistrates court has ordered for the woman to be taken for psychiatric evaluation as the police suspect she could be having a mental problem.
SLEEP WALKING EXPLAINED
Sleepwalking is known as somnambulism or noctambulism, that is, a combination of sleep and wakefulness.
According to psychologists, episodes of this nature can happen at any age although sleepwalking is more common in children.
Its causes are not known, but it is thought there are various triggers including anxiety, stress, illness, drinking too much alcohol and taking certain types of medication, such as sedatives.
People who sleepwalk often appear briefly confused while in bed or may walk around their bedroom attempting to get dressed or carry out other daily activities.
In the most dangerous cases, sleepwalkers carry out complex activities, such as cooking, driving a car or walking out of the house, despite not being fully awake.