Body of Thika grandmother still 'unclaimed', one month later

Leah Njeri, 82, was found dead at her home in Landless, Thika. [Courtesy]

Almost a month after the decomposed body of Thika granny Leah Njeri was found at her home in landless; her remains are still lying unclaimed at a mortuary in Thika.

At her home, there is no sign that Njeri, 82, will be laid to rest any time soon. As would be the case when a loved one dies, neighbours and family would hold meetings at the home to make burial plans, but there is no sign at the granny's home that there have been such plans.

When The Sunday Standard visited her home and General Kago funeral home in Thika for an update on the mysterious death of the retired teacher cum businesswoman, there was no sign of life. Neighbours who spoke to us said the home has remained deserted.

A week ago, police officers from the DCI Homicide Unit, in the company of a family member, were present at the home collecting evidence. 

Asked why burial meetings have not been taking place at this home, Jane Waithira, a neighbour said: "We are still waiting for communication from the family on the way forward."

At General Kago funeral home, an official at the mortuary said no one has come to claim the remains.

The official said DCI officers from Kiambu road had instructed the mortuary not to hand over the remains until investigations are complete. 

The Sunday Standard has since established that DNA examination on the recovered body parts is yet to take place due to a shortage of crucial samples at the government chemist.

Investigators, who are in communication with officials at the government chemist in Nairobi, said they are hopeful that a DNA examination will be concluded by next week.

According to the investigators, the delay in forensic investigations has been occasioned by a shortage of crucial reagents at the government laboratory.

“We have had challenges with DNA examination since much of these reagents were moved to Shakahola for the investigations," said a senior official at the government chemist who requested anonymity. “We hope that more of these reagents will be procured as a soon as possible."

This challenge was communicated to the family during a meeting between the homicide investigators and immediate family members of the deceased.

The investigators hope to identify the remains of Njeri through a DNA match with samples collected from family members.

DNA analysis is expected to help the investigators confirm that indeed the bones recovered from the Thika home belong to Njeri.

Last week, homicide investigators met some of the immediate family members at DCI headquarters to record statements.

At least eight individuals, among them two surviving sons of the deceased, were questioned by the DCI.

Caroline Njeri, who was the first family member to enter her grandmother’s house on the day she was discovered dead outside her home in Thika, has also recorded her statement.

The badly decomposed body was found under a mango tree after police cleared the outgrowth in the compound on June 20.

Last week, family members held a meeting with the investigators where police were briefed on the life and times of the family matriarch. 

The investigators at the same time wanted to verify from the granddaughter Caroline Njeri the authenticity of the video she shared that showed inside her grandmother’s house after her death. 

Njeri was also said to be close to her grandmother and was a more frequent visitor than her uncles.

The badly decomposed body was found under a mango tree by neighbours and the police who had to clear bushes on June 20.