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Couple arrested on suspicion of child abuse after operation to remove 13 spikes from child’s body

By Kamau Maichuhie | Published Tue, December 5th 2017 at 00:00, Updated December 4th 2017 at 22:47 GMT +3
Jacinta Ndunge the mother of a 10 month baby who was operated on last week and 13 sewing needles removed from her buttocks being led in a vehicle after she was arrested yesterday at Thika Level 5 Hospital where the child was recuperating (PHOTO:KAMAU MAICHUHIE|STANDARD)

The parents of a baby who was found with 14 needles in her body have been arrested on suspicion of child abuse.

Isaac Wanyoike, 42, and Jacinta Ndunge, 31, were picked up at the Thika Level 5 Hospital, where their 10-month-old daughter is recuperating after surgery to remove 13 sewing needles.

The couple is being detained at the Thika Police Station as investigations into the matter gained momentum yesterday.

The Thika sub-county children’s officer, Rebecca Kariuki, said the parents are being investigated to establish if they were abusing the child.

She said the mother was questioned when the baby was taken to hospital two weeks ago, adding that her explanation has raised many questions.

“We suspect the baby could be a victim of child abuse. The mother will have to open up and explain how the needles entered the child’s body,” said Kariuki.

The baby will be taken to a local children’s centre.

Kariuki said her office was in the process of taking up the couple’s two other children, who are also minors.

A doctor at the hospital, who declined to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said the needles appeared to have been pushed into the child’s body.

He said they were rusty, meaning they had been in the infant’s body for a long time before 13 were removed. 

Forensic examination

“We will carry out a forensic examination to establish how long the needles were in the body of the minor,” said the doctor.

Wanyoike, a casual labourer at a quarry, said he had no reason to suspect that his wife could harm their children. However, he said the child was with her mother most of the time as he was always at the quarry working.

“The discovery of the needles in my daughter’s body is still a mystery to me. But I cannot associate my wife with it since I trust her even though she is the one who stays with the baby most of the time,” said Wanyoike.

Ndunge maintained her innocence, saying she was puzzled how the needles found their way into her child’s bottom.

“I am her mother and I cannot harm her. If they want to take me to jail let them do so, but I am innocent,” she said.

Doctors removed 13 needles and are still trying to figure out how to remove the last one, fearing that this might damage the baby’s nerves. 

Thika OCPD Willy Simba said the couple would be charged with child neglect and torture.