The pain was all over their faces - a sorely devastated father and gravely shattered uncles - their teary eyes had it all.
Together, they had come out to defend the honour of their daughter, slain Moi University medical student, Ivy Wangechi from the “second” death.
Despite being killed in the most brutal of ways - with an axe and in broad daylight - alleged friends of the killer had rolled it over on her with all manner of accusations.
In a meeting with the Saturday Standard, the family said they will not take anymore of the rumours going on, with the father, Paul Githui Wainaina, unequivocally saying she was not a slay queen.
“Please help me clean my daughter’s name. She was a decent, hardworking girl. The stories being circulated about her infecting her killer with HIV/Aids are untrue. This has been discounted by tests already done,” Wainaina said.
Wangechi, a first born in a family of three was the daughter of Wainaina and Winifred Kingori, who teaches at Chomo in Gatanga Murang’a. The father is the principal of Kanjuiri Secondary School in Nyandarua County.
Wainaina added, “Ivy was brought up in a strict Christian background and is a very honest person. Her character cannot be questioned. She is a victim of a brutal murder and should not be vilified.”
His pain was evident as he recounted how he viewed the murder weapons recovered by the police as well as some of the personal effects, including the car suspected to have been used by the killer.
The family also described the agony they have been living through since they received the unforgettable call from a chaplain from Moi University.
They said it was like losing a person twice, since they were battling with news of the loss when malicious reports started circulating, as if to justify the killer’s anger which was attributed to a disease he had allegedly contracted.
Wangechi’s uncle, John King’ori refuted reports that the suspected killer bought her a vehicle, saying she did not even know how to drive.
“She had a passion for medicine and was inspired by her uncles who are doctors. In fact she was planning to specialise in neurosurgery as she was following the footsteps of her uncle, Colonel Dr Charles Mwangi,” Mr Kingori added.
According to the family, it was not new for Wangechi to plan her birthday party as she always celebrated the day she was born on April 10.
This was a family tradition, the relatives explained. “We were planning a family gathering on April 20. This is when we as family would have held a party to belatedly celebrate her birthday,” Kingori said.
When Wangechi was not reading or practising medicine, she loved motivating her cousins and other children and was such a role model that one of her cousins is pursuing medicine at University of Nairobi.
Asked whether she had ever talked of settling down or starting a family, Wainaina said his daughter had never mentioned or introduced any suitor to the family.
Wangechi, was focused on finishing her medicine course which she would have cleared last year had it not been for the doctors strike.
“She has always wanted to help people and hated to see anybody suffer. That is one of the reasons she opted for medicine. All her cousins loved her and she acted as their role model,” the father added.
“While at Alliance, Ivy loved teaching Sunday school and was a darling for Sunday school children at Musa Gitau Presbyterian church where she was at one time in charge of the unit,” Wainaina said. She disclosed her ambition of pursuing neurosurgery last year when the family met in Mahiga Nyeri for the Christmas festivities.
“I remember how excited she talked about her plans. We simply called her daktari. On the eve of Christmas we had a huge bonfire. Every now and then Ivy would sneak to her room where she buried herself in books. We had to call her on several occasions not to miss out on the fun,” Kingori said.
Wangechi’s life was cut short on Tuesday when she was hacked to death by her childhood friend as she walked outside Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) Eldoret.
Ironically, the man accused of attacking her, Naftali Kinuthia would end up in the wards she had just visited after he was attacked by the public who witnessed the killing. She died on the spot after sustaining deep cuts from an axe and a knife on the neck and head.
In yet another strange twist, Wangechi died just hours before she celebrated her birthday.
Yesterday, Wangechi’s father said he had very faint memory of the boy who was once their neighbour in Chomo village in Gatanga Murang’a.
“I could not recognise the name. When I was shown his picture pasted in his driver’s licence, I faintly recognised him. I could however not have identified him in the streets. It was long ago and the family moved to Thika,” he explained.
He said although he was familiar with Kinuthia’s family, nobody had contacted them even to pass condolences.
The family which had met at Blue Springs along Thika Road after transferring Wangechi's body from Eldoret to Kenyatta University Mortuary, said they were hurt by information attributed to the suspect’s family.
They plan to bury Wangechi on Thursday at Kirai Village in Mahiga Othaya once they get confirmation from the PCEA church in Thika, Makongeni.
Meanwhile, MTRH Chief Executive Officer Wilson Aruasa said Kinuthia was discharged yesterday evening.