A family in Kamukuywa village in Bungoma County woke up to disbelief after their son Isaac Wanjala, who they presumed dead and buried his remained, returned home.
Since he was a child, Wanjala had a habit of wandering off and staying away for long periods, sometimes up to a year, without informing his family of his whereabouts.
Elizabeth Masika, his mother, recalled that this time, after he had been missing for almost three years, his family believed the worst as it was his longest disappearance.
They were then informed that there was a body lying near his home, whose features resembled him and which they proceeded to bury after waiting for seven months.
"Someone reported to us that a body had been discovered close to his home, and they said it resembled our son. This was the longest he had gone without returning, so we were heartbroken," said Masika.
"Although we delayed acting," she continued, "We went to the mortuary after seven months and the body had been placed under the unclaimed area. Since it had been there so long, we could not completely verify that it was him, but several aspects in his body convinced us that it was indeed our son."
Wanjala's family had called the police to report him missing.
Later, police informed them that they had discovered an unidentified body that was a murder victim. The body was in poor shape and was hard to identify, but the family knew it had to be Wanjala.In December of last year, they took the body home and buried him.
Masika said her son he always made it back home every time he disappeared.
"Since his birth, my son has been disappearing. Therefore, this is not the first time he has done it."
She went on, "We confirmed and came to the conclusion that it was my son when police called us to check the body discovered by residents."
When the body was moved from the mortuary, she said everything had been done in accordance with the community's custom.
Despite several of Wanjala's closest friends having reservations that the body wasn't him, the family wrongly buried a murder victim under the assumption that it was Wanjala.After seeing the body, Titus Silali, Wanjala's childhood friend and classmate since class one, had declared he was certain it was not his friend's.
"There is no way I could have mistaken that body for Wanjala; I even know how his toes look like," Silali said. "I phoned a few of my friends who also had the same reservations, but the people who had gone to the morgue to identify the body could not listen to us."
The unidentified body which was buried in December last year, was exhumed and returned to Webuye county mortuary.
Kimilili OCPD Mwita Marwa urged families to be certain when identifying and collecting bodies from the mortuary. "Let close family members confirm the identity before taking a body that does not belong to us."
Marwa said the exhumed body will remain at Webuye county mortuary as authorities await another family to show up to claim it and provide proof of identification.