Daily Dispatch

Baby’s murder, mother’s agony

Dad arrested after blind infant punched in face for crying

- RIAAN MARAIS

Called a “moffie”, and punched in the face because he was crying, a blind 10-month-old baby boy was beaten to death this week.

The baby’s father, Jason Mandeka of Bethelsdor­p, was arrested and is expected to appear in a Gqeberha court on Monday. He faces a charge of murder.

As the 26-year-old man spends the weekend behind bars, the mother of little Kyle Tiyo faces a far worse punishment in the form of unimaginab­le grief.

In an interview with the Weekend Post just two days after the harrowing incident, Michelle Tiyo explained how she could do nothing but watch helplessly as her estranged boyfriend allegedly punched their crying baby boy in the face, before slapping her and chasing her away.

The next day she was called to collect the child from his family. She found her baby bruised and lifeless.

Her eyes filled with tears, as Tiyo, 20, recalled the events of Tuesday night.

“I went to fetch him from his father and he started crying. I told Jason I would take him to feed him. But he called little Kyle a moffie and [allegedly] punched him in the face.

“The baby kept crying and I wanted to take him away, but then his father [allegedly] slapped me across the face and chased me away,” Tiyo said, touching the side of her face while staring blankly at the floor.

Tiyo, who lives with her family in Langdon Street, Bethelsdor­p, had briefly left the house to go to a nearby shop at about 7pm on Tuesday.

While she was away, Mandeka arrived at the house and told the family he was there to fetch the baby.

“We told him to leave and only if Michelle told us it was OK, would we allow him to take the baby,” Tiyo’s aunt, Julia Jantjies, said.

“But he [allegedly] forced his way past us and grabbed the baby. As he was leaving, Michelle came back and our family got into an argument.

“He just turned and walked away, taking the baby with him to his family’s home up the street.”

Tiyo followed him home and a further argument ensued as she begged him to give the baby back.

She said Kyle had been born blind. Since his birth the father had refused to accept him. He also refused to support her in any way.

They started dating about two years ago, shortly after he was released from prison for house robbery. When they realised Kyle had a disability, Mandeka left her.

“On Tuesday night, when I got to the house, I heard Kyle crying.

“He got so angry. I could only watch as he [allegedly] lifted his fist and hit Kyle right in the face.”

Tiyo said she returned home at about 8pm.

The next morning, one of Mandeka’s family members told her he had taken the baby to his sister’s house, a block away and she could fetch the child from there.

“When I got there, Kyle was not breathing. He was not wearing a shirt, only a nappy, and the side of his face was blue and purple.”

Police spokespers­on Colonel Priscilla Naidu confirmed that the 26-year-old father had been arrested for murder on Wednesday.

Naidu also confirmed that the accused had been out on parole after serving a portion of his six-year prison sentence for house robbery in 2017. —

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