Two unborn babies raise Shakahola deaths to 427

Homicide detectives retrieve bodies from shallow mass graves within the Shakahola forest. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Relatives of the victims of the Shakahola cult rituals will wait longer to get the bodies of their kin for burial.

The State will be sending phone texts messages to the families once DNA tests are ready.

Yesterday, Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor said DNA results from the Government Chemist were yet to reach his team. But some reports indicated that the results of the DNA are at the Government Chemist in Mombasa.

“Next week, we will be with the Government Chemist then they will brief us on the process of what is going on there. That is when we would be able to tell you the number of people who have been identified,” he said.

At the same time, the death toll in the Shakahola massacre increased to 427 after foetuses were discovered in two women who were pregnant.

Dr Oduor said the unborn babies had already grown. ‘’We stumbled on two women who were pregnant today, so we had to separate the foetuses from them and we also did autopsies on the unborn babies,’’ said Dr Oduor.

Speaking at the Malindi Hospital mortuary, he said the team had completed autopsies on the bodies exhumed in the fourth phase.

‘’Today, we have done 26 autopsies consisting of 14 adults and 10 children, while two were unable to determine the age and gender due to the level of decomposition. This has marked the end of the fourth phase of autopsies,’’ said Dr Oduor.

The pathologists could not establish the cause of death of 18 bodies that were examined yesterday because of the level of deterioration, while only eight died of starvation.

A team of detectives, morticians and doctors are expected to begin embalming the bodies exhumed in the second, third and fourth phases of exhumation as of Wednesday.

On the DNA, Dr Oduor said the Government Chemist has to do matching and when the results are positive, give his office a report before the bodies are released.

“Usually, you take DNA samples from the relative and that of the deceased, then you do what is called matching at the Government Chemist. Once they match, they give us a report which we look at, and we can identify who this person is,” he explained.