Police, Family in Standoff over Remains of Missing Boy

Remains still in police custody after family rejected them
Police say remains match the missing child’s DNA
3 police officers injured, 4 squad vehicles vandalised
10 men arrested for inciting violence
Police warn against inciting violence

Police in Lobatse and the fam-
ily of a child who was found
dead on Monday this week after
he went missing nearly three months
ago are embroiled in a serious dispute
around the handing over and burial of
the child.
The remains of 6-year old Tlotso Karema are still in police custody fol-
lowing an unsuccessful bid by the po-
lice to hand them over to the family for

Said police spokesman Near Bagali
in an interview with The Botswana
Gazette yesterday: “Upon identifying
the remains, we subjected them to fo-
rensic investigations which revealed
that indeed the remains matched the
missing child’s DNA.”
“Following that, we informed the
family and made arrangements for
them to collect and bury the child but
they rejected the remains and insisted

that they would be embarking on pri-
vate investigations. We are still waiting
for them as we speak.”
In the aftermath of finding little Tlot
so’s body, riots broke out in Lobatse,
prompting the police to quell them and
to issue a stern warning against inciting
violence or pushing the narrative that
the child is still alive somewhere.
So far 10 men have been arrested for
inciting violence in which three police
officers were injured and public prop
erty, including four police vehicles,
was vandalised. “We reported the child
missing on 18th March 2022 and began
our search the next day,” Bagali said.
“The big question is where were these
protesters all along when they appear
only now in June?”

He added that the police are certain
that Tlotso Karema is dead, saying
what is being investigated are circum-
stances that led to the child’s death.
Asked about rumours that the re-
mains found do not match the features
of Tlotso, Bagali said those are un-
substantiated perceptions peddled by
people who want to incite violence.
“Nobody has ever brought forward any
scientific counter-evidence to what we
have and we are open to such develop-
ments, if there are any,” he stated.
Nevertheless, a disbelieving public
has mounted a strong campaign dubbed
“Bring Back Tlotso” to find the child
dead or alive amid fears of more vio-
lence. The MP for Lobatse, Dr Thapelo
Matsheka, took to social media yester-
day to appeal for calm so that law en-
forcement agencies may carry out their
investigations without hindrance.
The police had long restored order by
evening yesterday. Efforts to speak to
the family proved futile at the time of
going to press.