Family feud: Woman moves to court to exhume her husband

A woman has gone to court seeking orders to exhume her husband’s body to give him a decent burial.

Rahab Nyambura Njoroge argued that when her husband, Timothy Njoroge Mburu, died on March 18, she had hoped to give him a decent burial befitting his status.

She said she was surprised to find her husband’s body missing from Lee Funeral Home a few days after his death.

She has accused her sister-in-law, Monica Wanjiru Mburu, of illegally removing the body and secretly burying it in Limuru without according her a chance to pay her last respects.

“They hurriedly buried my late husband at 7.30am without my knowledge or any church service and ceremony. I was even more devastated when I traced the site he was buried and found that they had already cemented the grave,” said Ms Njoroge.

She said she had been married to Mr Mburu since August 2007 and that the two had been staying together until he fell ill in February this year.

Burial permit

Mburu was admitted to Nairobi Hospital when he died. The body was taken to Lee Funeral Home.

Njoroge said she went to the mortuary on April 3 to collect a burial permit to allow her to take the body for burial, but was informed that it had already been released to her sister-in-law.

She claimed that Wanjiru illegally obtained burial documents from a private pathologist and presented them to the hospital to have the body released without involving her, although she knew Njoroge was legally married to Mburu.

“As his wife, I had the right to properly bury my husband. I cannot even verify if it was my husband’s body that was buried since they hurriedly cemented the grave,” said Njoroge.

Lee Funeral Home has stated that the law mandated it to release a body to any person who presents identification as the next of kin.

The funeral home’s manager, Mutindi Kaloki, said when the body was received from Nairobi Hospital, Monica Wanjiru Mburu and James Muita visited the mortuary and identified themselves as Mburu’s next of kin.

“By the time we were releasing the body, we were not aware there was another next of kin. If Nyambura had presented her claim earlier, we would not have allowed the release until they sorted out their mess,” said Mr Kaloki.

Next of kin

He stated that it was not unusual for different people to claim one body preserved at the facility.

When they appeared before Lady Justice Wilfrida Okwany, Njoroge and her sister-in-law indicated that they were in talks to settle the matter out of court.

The judge gave them until October 10 to reach an agreement.

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