Three people have been held over the murder of 11-year-old Bence Szita, including his foster mother, after his body was found in a shallow grave in the woods near Kaposvár University campus on Saturday. Some 100 local volunteers had joined a search after the boy was reported missing five days earlier by the woman. It appeared he had been beaten and then brutally murdered.
Foster mom makes confession
The foster mother, Erika P., 47, and two homeless men, József B., 57, and József K., 41, were taken into custody on Sunday and are expected to be charged with instigation, murder and accessory to murder respectively. Police asserted that the woman had confessed but did not say whether she acted as abettor or perpetrator. Media reports suggested that she had offered the men money to kill the child.
Her lawyer said on Tuesday that his client, who was romantically involved with the victim’s foster father, had made a detailed confession to police.
Had ‘seen the devil’ in her victim’s eyes
Bence was reported missing by Erika P. but police alleged that they became suspicious she had been involved in foul play because she made conflicting statements. Somogy County Police Commissioner Attila Piros told a press conference on Sunday that police already had confirmation the boy was dead when Erika P. filed the report about his disappearance from a playground outside a shopping centre.
Asked about a motive, Piros said he had received a response from the three suspects that he is unwilling to share with journalists, but noted that psychological evaluations of the trio would certainly be appropriate.
He cited the victim’s rights when he declined to disclose the method of murder. “There is no such level in the TV programme rating system which would make the method of murder bearable for viewers,” Piros said. Weapons founded included knives and shovels, he alleged.
According to the daily Népszava, the boy’s foster father met the boy during a relationship with his real mother, and took in Bence when both parents disowned the child. His relationship with Erika P. started some three years ago but ended a few weeks before the murder, the paper said.
Népszava quoted criminal psychologist Pál Bilkei as saying that the exact motive is unknown but was most likely some sort of retaliation. “She didn’t want to kill the man because it would only have caused temporary pain, but by killing someone important to him he will always remember the agony,” Bilkei theorised. He believed that Erika P. would have hired the other suspects to have somebody to blame for the murder. “… and for the two homeless the HUF 200,000 (EUR 707) they received was an incredible amount of money”.
Tabloid Blikk quoted József K.’s wife as saying that he had been brutalising his own family for years. The man reportedly denies murder but has admitted digging the grave. Police asserted that both men have confessed.
If convicted Erika P. could become the first to spend the rest of her life behind bars under new life-means-life rules. Blikk asserted she was reportedly a member of a religious sect and told police she had “seen the devil” in her victim’s eyes.
Her daughter and grandchild have fled Kaposvár over death threats.