DNA test saves woman accused of stealing baby in hospital
A woman accused of stealing a baby was relieved after an Eldoret court declared her the biological mother of the infant following a DNA test.
Ms Ursillah Jeptoo found herself in court after Ms Lucy Chepkoech accused her of stealing her three-year-old.
Through her lawyer, Ms Chepkoech had said the baby was stolen from her at Kapsabet County Referral Hospital upon delivery on April 24, 2015.
Ms Jeptoo has been living with the baby, whom she told the court she gave birth to on the same day as Ms Chepkoech did, but in a different hospital. She was arrested on January 25 following the claims.
Ms Chepkoech told the court that she had asked a woman in the hospital to look after her baby as she attended to an urgent issue outside the hospital ward, but upon her return she realised her child was gone.
Ms Jeptoo denied the allegations, insisting she gave birth at Race Course Hospital in Eldoret and she has been breastfeeding the baby since then.
She attached copies of the birth certificate and post-natal clinic records in her defence.
When they appeared before the magistrate on February 2 they both agreed to provide DNA samples to the police.
In his ruling, Eldoret chief magistrate Charles Obulutsa said the DNA results presented in court confirmed that the Ms Jeptoo was the biological mother of the baby.
Mr Obulutsa said the DNA examination was done by experts from a government hospital under the supervision of the investigating officer who was also in court.
“The court has considered all issues presented including DNA samples from all concern parties. DNA results exonerate the accused person from the charges of stealing the baby,” ruled Mr Obulutsa.
The court also questioned the sincerity of the complainant as she has never appeared in court since the case started four months ago. Only her lawyer has been present.
Initially, Ms Chepkoech had rejected the DNA results and had sought a fresh test. In January, the court had ordered Ms Jeptoo to temporarily keep the baby until April 9 when a ruling will be made after the DNA results.
Ms Jeptoo could not hide her joy after the court ruled in her favour. “Thank you God for fighting for me and my baby. I will always praise you,” Ms Jeptoo shouted after the ruling.
Her lawyer, Ms Ledisha Kipseei, indicated that her client might be forced to sue the complainant for damages.