Kenyatta University funeral home on the spot in missing body parts probe
Three pathologists, Kenyatta University Funeral Home management and a widow have been ordered by the court to record statements with the police over alleged missing body parts of a Kiambu businessman whose death is mired in controversy.
Parents of Peter Macharia, who is alleged to have hanged himself at his home on June 18, through lawyer Beth Fundi, moved to court after a second postmortem revealed that his body organs, key in establishing whether it was a suicide or homicide were missing.
The organs are hyroid bone and thyroid cartridges, which are sub-structures of the neck, and the family believes that they were stolen during or immediately after the first postmortem, allegedly to bungle the investigations.
The organs, according to the family, are key in determining whether his death was a result of suicide or strangulation and wants them produced to facilitated further investigations which includes a third postmortem.
According to his wife, Esther Wambui, the deceased hanged himself at their home in Geitamaiyu village and was found with a loose rope on his neck, but the deceased’s parents have refuted her version.
Mr Macharia’s mother, Beth Waigwe, his brother Edwin Muriu and first wife Teresia Nyambura have sued Ms Wambui, the funeral home, three pathologists, who are Dr Dorothy Njeru, Dr Peter Ndegwa and Dr Fredrick Okinyi demanding explanations on the whereabouts of the organs.
Ms Waigwe, in a sworn affidavit, claims that her son died under unclear circumstances, saying that before his death, he had intimated to her about a fall-out with friend and that he feared for his life, a matter he was to report to the police on June 19.
A postmortem done on June 21, showed that Mr Macharia, who was found on the staircase with a loose rope on his neck and foam oozing from his mouth, died of a “neck compression due to hanging with suspected chemical poisoning.”
The autopsy, supervised by Dr Njeru representing the mortuary, Dr Ndegwa (for Macharia’s son) and Dr Okinyi (family), showed a head injury and there was a V-Shape injury in the left side of the next, an observation, leading to a conclusion that he may have died by hanging.
Not satisfied, the family successfully sought court orders for a second autopsy which was done on July 4 and manned by five pathologists, who included the three who manned the first one, Chief Government Pathologist Dr Johansen Odour and Professor Kiama Wangai for the family.
It indicated that other than the head injury, Mr Macharia had bruise on his left leg, which had not been indicated in the first report and that hyroid bone and thyroid cartridges, were missing.
Prof Kiama, a forensic pathologist, said the missing organs are key in establishing whether the deceased committed suicide or whether he was strangled, adding that unless the organs are found and examined, it’s impossible to tell whether it was suicide or murder.
The family wants the mortuary and the three pathologists to produce the missing body parts and the Kiambu DCIO Mr Paul Wambugu, who has been listed in the suit as interested party, to investigate the circumstances under which the organs disappeared as well as the cause of his death.
The mortuary, through its legal officer, Aaron Tanui, said the management was never involved in the first of the second autopsy.
In their replying affidavits, Dr Njeru, Dr Ndegwa and Dr Okinyi said they do not know about the whereabouts of the missing body parts, saying after the postmortem, the body and all its parts were left in the custody of the funeral home.
But Kiambu Principal Magistrate Justus Kituku ruled that the pathologists and the funeral home cannot escape questions on the whereabouts of the missing organs since they are the ones who came into contact with body.
“If all the body parts were left (intact) after the first postmortem, then somebody must account for what happened to those (missing) body parts,” Mr Kituku ruled.