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Anxiety as woman is buried in 30 minutes amid legal battle

 Felister Wanyaga was laid to rest at Kithungururu village in Embu County after a four-month legal battle. [Muriithi Mugo, Standard]

A family had to bury their kin within 30 minutes for fear a court order would disrupt the ceremony after they endured a four-month legal battle.

The family of Felister Wanyaga had been facing a legal battle that led to her body being held for more than four months at the Kenyatta University Hospital Mortuary.

Family members were in a sombre mood at the Gakwegori mortuary and at their home at Kithungururu Village as Wanyaga's body was finally laid to rest. 

Wanyaga’s family was granted orders by a Ruiru court to enter the body after issuing a decree that there was no marriage between the deceased and her ex-boyfriend Dennis Njoka Comba, ordering KU Morgue to release the body.

The court also ordered that her children be allowed to attend their mother’s funeral. 

There was uncertainty if the two daughters would attend their mother’s funeral as their father allegedly failed to pick up calls from the deceased's sister.

However, the children were spotted and were allowed to view their mother's body amid tears before the burial was conducted.   

According to her sister Triza Karimi, Wanyaga died after undergoing surgery to remove fibroids at a Nairobi hospital, where she was admitted for what they believed was a minor procedure. 

According to an autopsy report by Dr Johansen Oduor dated January 18, 2024, the deceased died due to  “peritonitis, post-op “ which is a redness and swelling (inflammation) of the lining of the belly or abdomen. The lining is called the peritoneum.

It is often caused by an infection from a hole in the bowel or a burst appendix. Dr Oduor noted there was a history of perforation of the ileum, which is the last part of the small intestine. 

Mary Wawira, another sister to the deceased, said the funeral plans were put in disarray back in January after an ex-boyfriend, the father of her sister’s two children halted the release of the body, leading to the legal battle over the body. 

“We had no issues as my sister had separated from him, but as we planned for the burial arrangements, we were shocked to find that he had rushed to the mortuary and indicated that he was the spouse and, therefore, no one should pick the body,” Wawira said. 

A cousin to the deceased, James Njagi, noted that the elders have no issues with the ex-boyfriend as he is the father to the deceased children.

“After the death, we invited the ex-boyfriend’s family for a meeting to work together on funeral arrangements, but they kept us waiting for four days," he said. 

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