Court orders body exhumed after mix-up at morgue

The body of a man who was mistakenly buried by another family. [Istockphoto]

The body of a man who was mistakenly buried by another family two weeks ago was traced and exhumed following a court order.

Waema Nguku, 95, died on September 6, 2022 at his home in Kilanga village. The body was then ferried to the Makueni Sub County Hospital morgue.

However, days later when the family visited the morgue, they didn’t find their patriarch’s body. The burial and funeral rites were put on hold. The man was to be buried on September 10.

“We went two days to the burial day but were shocked to find the body missing. The bodies preserved there had no name tags for identification,” Daniel Ndeto, grandson to the deceased told Saturday Standard. 

It was after a few days of ups and downs that the body was traced to Kitende village where another family had mistakenly picked and interred it that week. 

The family had taken the body of Mr Nguku instead of that of their father, Mutuku Ngunui, 85. 

Local Public Health officer Salome Kamau oversaw the exhumation with police officers and detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

One of Waema’s relatives said their grandfather had marks on his legs, pierced ears, and grey hair. The family positively identified the body as that of their own. “We have already physically examined the body, and identified it as that of our grandfather. The body marks, removed lower teeth, pierced ears among other marks,” said Samuel Muoki, Waema’s grandson

Ngunui’s family said they were satisfied and that the body of their kin was still lying at the morgue.

They said they will be arranging for another burial. “We were confused when we lost our father. He had stayed at the Makueni Referral Hospital for long with kidney problems and when he died, we had sold part of our land. We have nothing to facilitate the second rightful burial,” said Patrick Kyalo.

The families urged the management of the hospital to improve body identification