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Pathologists, police deny stealing man's missing body parts

By Kamau Maichuhie | Published Wed, August 8th 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 7th 2018 at 23:11 GMT +3
Edwin Muriu and Beth Waigwe, parents of the late Peter Macharia Muriu who was found dead at his home in Gitamaiyu village, Kiambu town holding his portrait at Kiambu Law courts. [Kamau Maichuhie/Standard]

Police and three pathologists have denied any role in the disappearance of organs from a body preserved at the Kenyatta University Funeral Home.

In their replying affidavits, Dorothy Njeru, Peter Ndegwa and Fredrick Okinyi, who conducted an autopsy on the body of Peter Macharia on June 22, said they did not know where the missing body parts were.

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Mr Macharia's family has sued the funeral home and the pathologists over the missing body parts.

His mother Beth Waigwe, son Edwin Muriu and first wife Teresia Nyambura are seeking orders to compel the respondents to produce the missing parts.

The respondents are the funeral home, Macharia's second wife Esther Wambui Ndung’u and the pathologists, who witnessed the first autopsy at the mortuary. The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in Kiambu is an interested party.

Another autopsy on July 4 showed some organs in the neck, including the thyroid bone and thyroid cartilages, were missing.

The autopsy, witnessed by Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Odour and family pathologist Kiama Wangai, showed Macharia died from lack of oxygen due to pressure around the neck.

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The first autopsy also indicated suspected chemical poisoning. However, it was silent on whether the body parts were there or not.

Macharia was found hanging from the staircase of his Gitamaiyu home near Kiambu town, with a loose rope around his neck and foam coming out of his mouth.

His family wants orders to compel the funeral home and the pathologists to produce the missing body parts. They also want the court to direct the DCIO to investigate the circumstances under which the parts were taken away.

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After the missing parts are found, the family wants the court to order a third autopsy whose costs will be met by the culprit.

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

But the pathologists maintained they did not know where the parts were. Dr Njeru, representing the National Police Service and the DCI during the autopsy, said the missing organs were not subject to further analysis and were left in the custody of the funeral home.

But the funeral home is seeking to be expunged from the suit. Represented by lawyer Aaron Tanui, it said it did not provide pathology services but only charged for the use of its theatres.

“None of the pathologists who attended the autopsy were there at the behest of the funeral home,” he said.

Dr Ndegwa said it is wrong to drag him into what he termed a family dispute while Dr Okinyi said all the body parts were left in the custody of the funeral home after the autopsy. The case will heard on August 17.

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