‘It’s untrue Nakuru doctor’s wife wanted to fly abroad and leave family behind’

FACT CHECK |

Roseline Odhiambo (pictured), the sister of Winnie Odhiambo-Gakara, whose two children were allegedly killed by their father on September 18. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard]

The relatives of Winnie Odhiambo-Gakara have denied reports claiming that the mother of two wanted to leave the country and leave her young family behind.

Winnie’s husband, Dr. James Gakara (now deceased), is suspected of killing their two young children on Saturday, September 18, before allegedly attempting suicide.

The incident occurred at the couple’s Milimani Apartments home in Nakuru Town West.

It is alleged Gakara, injected their two children – a girl aged 5 and a boy aged 3 – with a poisonous substance before attempting to kill himself by the same means.

Gakara dies

Gakara died on the morning of September 22. He was admitted in ICU at the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital.

Winnie’s elder sister, Roseline Odhiambo, now says she doesn’t understand what might have led to the alleged murder-suicide, as Gakara and Winnie had no wrangles that risked jeopardising their relationship.

“We want to clarify something. It is all over the media that Winnie wanted to go abroad, [and leave her young family behind]. That is not true,” Roseline told The Standard at the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital on Wednesday.

A student at JKUAT

“Winnie doesn’t even have a passport. She registered as a student at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) just the other day with the help of her husband. She was to attend weekend classes.”

Roseline says Winnie had gone to attend classes at the Juja-based university on Saturday when the unfortunate incident occurred.

“There is also this notion that Winnie and her spouse had differences. I did not know of any differences that they had. Winnie was praying that her husband could recover so that he explains what happened,” said Roseline.

Roseline’s statement – that Gakara helped his wife secure placement at JKUAT – was corroborated by the spokesperson of Gakara’s family, Burton Njoroge.

“He (Gakara) loved his wife and children very much. He had always wanted his wife to further her education. He, consequently, encouraged her to enrol for a degree course at JKUAT,” Njoroge told The Standard at the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital on Wednesday.

Nothing seemed unusual

The deceased’s sister-in-law, Roseline, says on the fateful day, Gakara, who was in Nakuru, and Winnie, who was in Juja, engaged in long WhatsApp conversations in the morning, and that “nothing raised eyebrows”.

“They were a normal couple,” she said.

According to Roseline, Gakara, a gynaecologist at the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital, and Winnie, a clinical officer at Langalanga Dispensary in the county, operated a private clinic often run by Winnie.

“They were so close. We really don’t understand what happened, and she (Winnie) too doesn’t understand.”

Roseline says Gakara and Winnie “were a couple that everyone admired” and “were very happy”.

“People are saying so many things that are devastating. That very morning, they were chatting on WhatsApp. They had planned a trip to Thika on Sunday. His last message to my sister was: ‘Don’t come over [to Nakuru]. The children and I will pick you in Juja on our way to Mary’s place’.”

Roseline says she was “close” to Gakara, whom she describes as “a very humble person”.

A good man

“He was just a good man, who loved my sister and the children. I was close to him, and he did not tell me that there was something wrong with his marriage.”

Gakara’s family spokesperson Buron Njoroge told The Standard that low blood sugar level might have led to the father of two’s death.

“His samples were taken for toxicology tests. We are still waiting for the results, but doctors at the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital told us that Gakara’s blood sugar level had reduced significantly,” he said.

“He was a jovial man, who loved to engage in conversations touching on development.”

According to Njoroge, Gakara “loved his wife and children very much”.

“We don’t know what might have led him to [allegedly] kill his children and attempt to end his own life, if those claims are true,” said Njoroge.

After Winnie enrolled for her studies at JKUAT, Gakara committed to looking after the children when Winnie was away in school, especially during the weekends, said Njoroge.

Employee discovers bodies 

According to the spokesperson, on Saturday Gakara behaved “strangely” by asking his house-help to go out and look for food in the shamba, yet he had said he’d be leaving in a few minutes’ time to take the children out.

After the house-help stepped out, his phone became unreachable, prompting his wife to ask one of their employees at the clinic to go check on Gakara and the children.

Upon reaching the house, the employee peeped through the window and saw Gakara and his two children on the floor unconscious.

Police, who were alerted, arrived at the scene and broke Gakara’s door. It was then that they discovered the two children had died, and Gakara was still alive, though in critical condition.

Gakara died this morning while receiving treatment at the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital, county police commander Beatrice Kiraguri confirmed.

“He had been admitted to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for a couple of days,” said Kiraguri.

It is alleged Gakara killed his two children by injecting them with a poisonous substance, and, thereafter, attempted to take his life by injecting himself with the same substance. This was, however, yet to be established as samples taken from his body for toxicology tests were yet to be analysed.

“The scene indicates some drugs were used on the children and on himself. A postmortem [examination] shall be conducted to establish what type of drug it was,” Kiraguri said on Sunday, September 19.

Bodies of Gakara’s two children were taken to the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital morgue. Preliminary plans are to have the burials of the father and children conducted on Friday, September 24.

“A postmortem on Gakara will be conducted tomorrow (Thursday, September 23). Though we’ve settled on Friday as the burial date, that plan might change depending on the family’s wishes,” said Burton Njoroge, Gakara’s family spokesperson.

-Additional reporting by Kennedy Gachuhi-

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