After about three months of family agony, the family of popular gospel star and former Tusker Project Fame (TPF) winner Ruth Matete can sigh with relief. Following a legal plea that the family was pushing to have the body of her late husband released, The Standard can now confirm that their wishes have finally been granted.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has formally requested Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) mortuary to waive the body preservation charges of the singer’s husband. The hospital wants Sh600,000 to release the body.
The Nigerian High Commission has granted consent for the release of the deceased’s body to the family. The Embassy had requested that the body be held until the ongoing probe into the deceased’s death is concluded, a move that Ms Matete objected to.
“We hereby request that you consider waiving the body storage charges resulting from the retention of the body as a result of a request by the Nigerian High Commission to have time to consult the deceased’s brother’s in Nigeria,” the DCI wrote to the CEO, KNH.
The deceased, Pastor John Olakami Apewajoye aka Blessed John’s body has been lying at the mortuary for about three months since he succumbed to burn wounds resulting from a fire incident that occurred in the couple’s house at Gateway Estate in Athi River.
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The incident happened on March 30 but the deceased succumbed on April 11 to mixed degree burns and the resulting complications. These included sepsis and multiple organs failure amongst them deteriorating renal and liver functions.
Despite the release of the body, Ms Matete is however yet to pick it from the morgue. On Sunday, a close friend made a passionate social media plea to friends of Ruth to assist her and the family clear the mortuary bill.
“Finally! My look-alike and little siz Ruth Matete can now bury her husband. God is good. Kindly support her to give Pastor Beloved John a good sendoff through pay-bill 891300, Account number 39659. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. It’s been tough. God has shown himself,” the post by Jeridah Andayi, a radio host read.
Her lawyer Mr Robert Odanga said she is happy with DCI’s proposal to have the mortuary fee waived but she is yet to receive a response to the fee waiver request from the hospital.
He, however, added that his client is also seeking to know the status of the probe before she gets to bury her husband.
READ ALSO: Ruth Matete questioned by DCI over husband’s death
“Has the case been closed? Is there a complainant? Are the homicides detectives still using the items she picked from her house like her phones? Can she get them back?” Ruth wondered through a communication made by the lawyer.
Odanga said the information is key in helping his client get her life back.
“At the moment everything is at a standstill, she cannot launch her album, teach at her music school or preach at her church with the dark cloud hanging over her name. The public perception is stacked against her,” he added.
Mr Odanga added that the effect the case has had on his client’s career has caused her a huge financial burden on top of her mourning because she can no longer engage in her income-generating activities.
Ms Matete had demanded that the embassy clears the mortuary and burial expenses before she can accept the body for burial.
She insisted that the embassy issued insufficient reasons to warrant the holding of the body since the autopsy results had been released and she had the consent to bury him in the country.
Ms Matete has maintained that her husband burnt parts of his upper body on the fateful day at around 5pm after a failed attempt to properly light up their 6kg unused gas cylinder.
Questions over the circumstances surrounding his death were however raised prompting a probe of the incident by the DCI. An autopsy procedure confirmed that the body did not bear any visible marks of injury or signs of struggle.
Additionally, his brain did not bear any signs of hypoxic injuries; these are the injuries that result from strangulation, smoke inhalation, shock or poisoning from a drugs overdose.
“He died because of burns which were mixed degree burns estimated at 60 percent. In burns, what kills are the complications that arise. In this case there was sepsis, multiple organs failure and all that,” explained Chief government pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor.