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Kenyatta University Funeral Home sued over missing body parts

By Kamau Maichuhie | Published Sun, July 15th 2018 at 00:10, Updated July 15th 2018 at 00:12 GMT +3
The late Peter Macharia Muriu who was found dead at his home in Gitamaiyu village,Kiambu town Constituency. Two result of autopsy conducted on his body have discrepancies. Some body parts are missing.

In summary

  • Structures in the neck, among them thyroid bone and thyroid cartilages missing from body
  • Family insists missing body parts key in knowing the actual cause of their kin’s death

A family has sued Kenyatta University Funeral Home and three pathologists over the missing body parts of their kin who is currently being preserved at the facility.

A post mortem conducted on July 4 on the body of Peter Macharia disclosed that some of his body parts were missing.

Beth Waigwe, Edwin Muriu and Teresia Nyambura, who are Macharia’s mother, son and the first wife respectively have moved to court as they seek to trace the whereabouts of the missing body parts of their departed kin.

Those sued include the funeral home, Esther Wambui Ndung’u who is Macharia’s widow, and pathologists Dorothy Njeru, Peter Ndegwa and Okinyi, who witnessed the first autopsy that was conducted on June 22 at the morgue.

The funeral home and the three pathologists are named as second, third, fourth and fifth respondents respectively. Director of Criminal Investigations (DCIO), Kiambu is also named as an interested party in the suit.

An autopsy done on Macharia’s body on July 4 at the funeral home revealed that some structures in the neck, among them thyroid bone and thyroid cartilages were missing.

The autopsy conducted in presence of Chief Government Pathologist Dr Johansson Odour and Prof Kiama Wangai, the family’s pathologist showed Macharia died as a result of lack of oxygen due to a rope going around the neck.

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A third injury was also discovered on the leg, which showed there was a bruise on his left leg below the knee. The postmortem also confirmed the injury on his head.

The first autopsy result showed that he died due neck compression due to hanging with suspected chemical poisoning.

The autopsy results were however silent on whether the missing body parts were present in the body or not during the autopsy.

Macharia was found hanging on the staircase at his homewith a loose rope on his neck, with foam coming out of his mouth.

Replying affidavit

The family in the suit is seeking orders to compel the second, third, fourth and fifth respondents to avail the missing body parts (hyloid/thymal cartilages) of the deceased as indicated in the postmortem report.

The family is also seeking the court to direct the DCIO to investigate circumstances in which the missing deceased’s body parts were detached from his body by who and when. They are also seeking orders that upon the missing parts being availed, the court orders a third post mortem to be conducted and the culprit to bear the cost for it.

“It is apparent that the second post mortem was not conclusive; the actual cause of death has not yet been established,” reads part of application.

However, in a replying affidavit, Kenyatta University Funeral Home through its lawyer Aaron Tanui says it has been wrongly enjoined in the family dispute.

The funeral home in the affidavit says it does not provide pathology services but only charges for its post mortem theatres.

“None of the pathologists who attended the June 22 autopsy were there at the behest of the funeral home and it can therefore not attest to the findings exhibited in their findings,” reads part of the replying affidavit.

On Friday, Kiambu Principal Magistrate Justus Kituku gave the respondents seven days to file their responses to the application by the family.

Mr Kituku also declined a request by the widow and funeral home lawyers to gag the media from reporting on the case.

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