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Family seeks answers after kin found dead in a van in Finland

 Catherine Anyango Akinyi and her daughter Michell Odhiambo were found dead in a van in Finland. [Michael Mute, Standard]

The family of Catherine Anyango Akinyi and her daughter Michelle Odhiambo whose bodies were found inside a van in Finland are now appealing for help to transport their bodies back to Kenya for burial.

Delays in shipping the bodies home could lead to the disposal of their kin in Finland, the family says.

Police in Tahko, Finland have already launched investigations into the mysterious deaths of Akinyi and her daughter.

The bodies of Akinyi and Odhiambo were found inside their van at the main parking lot of the resort town on February 9.

The two had gone to work in Nilsi, where they had an outside catering stand, but did not return home after that.

On Friday, a sombre mood engulfed their home in Kisumu East as relatives struggled to come to terms with the loss.

Roselyn Aloo, the mother of Catherine, said the family is not able to raise funds to travel to Finland to enable them organise burial arrangements for their kin.

She says her daughter who was aged 44 travelled to Finland for the first time in 2008 after the death of her husband in Kenya and has been living there since.

"She travelled to Finland at the invite of her late husband. She was going to work but on getting there things did not work out. She enrolled in a catering college, where she studied and finished before again enrolling in a nursing school where she has been studying up to the time of her death," she narrates.

Aloo says she need to urgently travel to Finland to not only help with burial plans but also establish exactly how her daughter and granddaughter died.

Anyango was the third born in the family. At the time of her death, she was doing outside catering to raise funds to support herself and her family alongside her studies.

Speaking in Kolwa Kisumu East to The Saturday Standard, Aloo says her daughter and granddaughter had visited Kenya three months ago to renew their passports before they returned to Finland.

"On Thursday last week, my son called me and told me he was coming home but wanted to talk to me about something. By the time he was getting home, there were so many relatives within the compound including my other daughters and church members whom he had contacted and cautioned not to inform me. He then broke the news that my daughter and granddaughter had been found dead," she recalls.

The distraught mother says she last spoke to her daughter in January over the phone. She says her son received a call from their other sister who also lives in Finland on the same after trying to reach Akinyi and Mitchell for days in vain.

Aloo says Catherine was the sole breadwinner of her family and it was now difficult for them to raise funds to bring their bodies home. Aloo says she and her 20-year-old grandson who is in the military in Finland are listed as next kin. However, he has not been communicating to the rest of the family since the death of his mother and sister.

"Our calls and text messages have remained unanswered and now we are very worried. This is one of the reasons why I need to travel to Finland to find out how the children are doing and plan way forward on how the bodies can be brought back home. I would wish to view the bodies and bring them back here for burial," she adds.

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