Four-year-old still missing, four months after disappearing from Nairobi home

Monica Makhungu whose parents fear could have been abducted from their Mukuru kwa Reuben home. [PHOTO: PKEMOI NG’ENOH/STANDARD]

Monica Makhungu, 4, was last seen on October 1, 2016 next to their area of residence at Mukuru kwa Reuben Mpya kwa Reli.

She disappeared when her mother was pregnant with another child and her sibling brother is now about four months old.

The shock of her disappearance triggered labour pains and her mother Elizabeth Jane delivered 12 days before the expected delivery date.

It was a sunny afternoon on the day that the little girl went missing. Being a Saturday, Monica had spent her afternoon playing outside with her age mates while her mother went about her house chores. Her father Enock Mudavadi, who is a football fan, had gone to join his friends in Kayole to enjoy a match.

At around 6pm, her mother went to search for the girl since it was getting late. She assumed that Monica was playing close by. But after searching a few houses, she became anxious and felt that something was amiss — her daughter was nowhere to be found.

Elizabeth panicked and called her husband.

“She called me at around 6pm informing me that she could not find Monica. I told her the girl couldn’t have gone far and that she may have gone to her friend’s house. I continued to watch football,” Mudavadi says. Little did he know that was going to be the beginning of a long tedious journey of searching for their first born child.

At around 7:30 pm, he received a second call from his wife who was now panicking because she could not trace the girl from the neighbours’ houses.

“When I got home, I found everyone in my neighbourhood desperately searching for Monica. We searched until 1am but we were not able to find her,” he says.

Within the same night, they decided to report the matter at Mukuru kwa Reuben Police Station.

“The following morning, we asked one of her age mates — whom they play with regularly — if she had seen her.

The child told us that my daughter was taken away by a man who was carrying a bottle of water in his hand. We wondered where the man took her,” he says.

They continued searching beyond Mukuru kwa Reuben to other parts of Nairobi and reported the incident in almost all police stations in Eastlands.

When she was last seen, Monica — who is a baby class pupil at House of God Prayers school in Mukuru kwa Reuben — was wearing a green Kitenge dress with yellow spots, a blue t-shirt inside the dress, and a pink sweater on top.

She had cornrows plaited on her hair and her parents say she has a birth mark on her right thigh which is the size of a biscuit.

For a very long time, Mudavadi has not been consistent in going to work because he has to continue looking for his daughter. Sometimes he is forced to leave his job and rush somewhere whenever he hears his child might have been spotted somewhere.

“We have really tried to make headway of this but so far there are no reliable clues forthcoming. I now fear the kidnappers may have even trafficked her to another country,” Mudavadi says.

The man has also been to various children’s homes hoping to find Monica and with each passing day, his desperation grows. Her mother has also been deeply affected to the extent that she does not eat well yet she is a breast feeding mother.

“How can I eat if I do not know where my daughter is? Her disappearance is causing us sleepless nights,” she says adding that each time she sees Monica’s bags, clothes, class mates and friends, she starts crying.

Anyone with information of the girl’s whereabouts can reach us on [email protected]