More questions emerge as late Sharon’s life story revealed

By Vincent Achuka | Saturday, Sep 8th 2018 at 00:00
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Family spokesperson Joshua Okong’o (right) with Sharon's mother Melinda Auma while addressing the press at their home in Magare village Homa Bay County on September 7, 2018. (Collins Oduor, Standard)

?Murdered university student Sharon Otieno was allegedly supposed to meet Migori Governor Okoth Obado on the day she was kidnapped, eventually being tortured and stabbed to death.

This is just another piece of the puzzle the Saturday Standard has uncovered and which investigators are looking into as they try to nail those behind the murder of the 26-year-old who was found in a thicket with her intestines ripped out.

Used condoms were also found where her body was discovered, suggesting she had been raped before being stabbed repeatedly and acid poured on her lower body. 

Governor Obado, whom we understand has procured the services of renowned criminal lawyer Cliff Ombeta to represent his interests in the matter, did not travel to Rwanda as planned after news of Sharon’s brutal murder broke.

The governor is also not in Migori where Sharon’s murder dominates conversations. Ombeta was, however, seen at the Rachuonyo Level Four Hospital where a postmortem on Sharon’s body was being conducted. There was drama in the morning in Migori town when unknown men bought off newspapers from the streets.

On Tuesday, Obado’s press secretary Nicholas Anyuor told the press that those associating the governor with the murder want to tarnish his name.

“Let police do the investigations and take necessary actions. Associating the governor with this incident could be a political ploy meant to tarnish his name,” said Anyuor.

However, the family of the slain girl says she was supposed to meet the governor in Migori after she threatened to leak certain secrets to the media. Those in the know, however, say a DNA analysis will be done on the dead unborn child in order to determine its parentage.

“She told me she was supposed to meet with him (the governor) over the pregnancy on Sunday but the meeting did not happen until Monday,” Sharon’s sister Paulah Witney said.

“Everyone here knew the pregnancy was the governor’s although Sharon was rarely at home.”

The deceased also had three other children from a previous marriage and had separated from her husband over a year ago. Her friends at Rongo University College said they always knew her as being married.

“She gave birth last year in April and then stopped coming to school,” said one of her friends.

At her mother’s home, the youngest of her children aged a year and a half played with her two siblings, a brother aged four and a sister aged three.

In death as was in life, inconsistency continues to dog Sharon whose friends say lived a flashy life, but whose home tells of a different story. Another gap in the puzzling tale of her death is that no records exist of the type of vehicle that picked journalist Barrack Oduor and the student from Graca Hotel in Rongo on Monday night.

Jumped out

This information is also missing at the Kendu Bay Police Station Occurrence Book where the crime was first reported after Oduor jumped out of the moving vehicle, past an armed man who was seated next to the door. So far, the only information we have is that the car could have been a black four-wheel drive vehicle.

Graca Hotel, which is mid-sized by rural standards, is a two-storey building with about two dozen rooms, a small bar and restaurant with plastic seats and tables. It has two gates, one used as an entry and the other as an exit. One security guard mans both gates and there is no record of the registration plates of vehicles accessing the facility.

The main building has a CCTV camera overlooking the entry gate. The restaurant and bars too have a CCTV camera each. However, all the cameras were apparently not working on Monday night. The hotel’s management told us they have no idea why the cameras were not working on that particular night when two of their patrons were kidnapped.

A supervisor at the hotel who was working at the restaurant that day said he has no recollection of seeing either Barrack or Sharon.

“Those things (cameras) are machines so they can fail but that has also been explained to the police when they came here looking for footage,” said the hotel’s supervisor.

“And again we serve a lot of people on any given day and we don’t ask them their names or take their photos. We only heard in the news that the two were here so we cannot comment on that.”

The failure by the hotel’s cameras is just a tip of the iceberg on the mounting inconsistencies about the murder whose plot almost resembles the attempted murder of a Garissa County executive three weeks ago. Apart from both cases having high profile personalities named, they also have bizzare disappearances of witnesses or evidence.

In Sharon’s case, it is not clear why the assailants whom initial information showed were armed with pistols when they kidnapped her and Oduor decided to stab her to death instead.

This is despite the fact that there was already a witness to the kidnapping who had escaped from the kidnappers, meaning they could easily be identified.

Refused to bulge

A detective aware of the progress of investigations told the Saturday Standard that Governor Obado’s aide Michael Oyamo, a former Kenya Navy officer, has refused to bulge, making it difficult for detectives to make headway in the case.

Also complicating the matter are glaring inconsistencies about the version of events advanced so far by the only witness to the crime, Mr Oduor.   

On Monday night, for instance, after news went round that the Nation Media journalist had gone missing, Oduor is said to have informed his wife that he had been involved in a small accident.

A phone recording between a police officer who was the first to handle the matter and another journalist who had called to inquire about the incident even makes it more puzzling. The police officer only said Oduor had been injured but did not say why even after being probed.

“Is he sick?” asked the journalist.

“No, he has been injured a bit and he has gone to Kendu Bay,” replied the officer.

Then the next day, after the story became public, Oduor was quoted saying it was the governor’s personal assistant who had called him with details of an alleged scandal and that he was in the “company of a woman, only identified as Sharon, also associated with the governor”.

“The governor’s personal assistant had initially called the lady, Sharon, for us to meet for a tip-off in Rodi Kopany Township (in Homa Bay) but changed the venue of the meeting to Rongo town in Migori County,” Mr Oduor was quoted by his employer.

Then in a subsequent interview, Oduor said he had known Sharon for about a month and that the governor had told him that he had delegated the matter to Oyamo to represent him in the meeting in which the two were kidnapped.

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti had given his detectives three days to close the case. The three days elapsed Friday with no indications on when the case will be closed.

“We are taking the matter seriously and anyone involved will be arrested,” said Kinoti on Tuesday.

Similar tough talk was witnessed last week over the attempted murder of former Garissa executive Idriss Mukhtar by police spokesman Charles Owino. In Mukhtar’s case, Garissa Governor Ali Korane has been mentioned several times but investigations are not yielding anything.

“The governor is definitely a person of interest,” said Owino of Korane. “You have seen us charge even Cabinet Secretaries, if evidence leads us to the governor then most definitely we will charge him.”    

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