Two elderly women in Zimbabwe who were accused of being witches died after drinking a mysterious potion given to them by a healer.
When Jersey Mutero, 83, and Erita Bhebhe, 73, died moments after drinking the “holy water," the local healer went missing. Police say the healer, Maxwell Pira, could be charged with double murder.
Pira was approached by the families of the two victims, who believed the elderly pair was possessed by demons and responsible for the illness that overtook a young girl in the village.
Pira performed a ceremony near their homes in a rural village in the Mindlands province.
"Pira gathered all family members and started praying for them. He also said prayers for a liquid, which he called holy water," said police spokesman Emmanuel Mahoko.
While it was reported that the “holy water” would somehow purify or cleanse the souls of the pair, investigators learned that Pira knew that drinking the liquid would kill them.
"He told everyone to drink the water passed around, but warned that those responsible for the sickness of the young girl shouldn't drink the concoction as they would die," he said.
The two women, then, must have believed they were not responsible for the girl’s illness.
Investigators are testing what they found of the liquid at the scene. Police are still searching for Pira and are asking for the community’s help in locating him.