A South African woman who claimed she gave birth to 10 babies from the same pregnancy has been admitted to a psychiatric ward for “inventing” the story. Police arrested Gosiame Sithole, 37, at a relative’s house near Johannesburg in the early hours of Thursday morning. Sithole was taken to a police station in Chloorkop days after being reported missing by estranged partner, Teboho Tsotetsi, The Sun reports. The 37-year-old woman hit the headlines when she claimed she gave birth to decuplets at a hospital in the city of Pretoria on June 7.
But soon after, doubts began to emerge about her story, and the children did not appear on camera.
South Africa’s National Department of Health says its own investigation concluded that there is no evidence the children existed.
One local media outlet, however, has insisted the births did take place. There has been a cover-up to disguise medical negligence.
Police said the woman had not committed a crime but did discharge her into the care of the Gauteng Department of Social Development staff, who then took her to a hospital.
She then accused her partner’s relatives of taking donations from the public meant for the newborns, despite their claims that they did not exist.
Sithole’s lawyer Refiloe Mokoena claims she is being held against her will and that she will apply for a court order to secure her release.
She said that her client was initially denied legal access and that her request to visit a private psychologist was turned down.
Mokoena told reporters: “She declined that she should be taken to Tembisa Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation because she felt strongly that she is of sound mind.”
According to news site IOL, Sithole has been subjected to “mental torture” and “starvation” since entering the hospital.
The lawyer added: “When I left Tembisa Hospital, she made it clear that seeing that she is now being held against her will, I should please move an urgent court order for her to be released.”
A protest against her internment was due to be held by relatives, friends, and activists outside the hospital on Friday, though it was not reported if it went ahead.
Independent Media has continued to insist the births were natural and claimed there has been a “cover-up of mammoth proportions” to hide medical negligence.
It admitted, however, that the whereabouts of the children are “unknown”.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission.