Was Grade 8 pupil sexually abused before death?

Police collect the body of the deceased pupil at Joy Gardens Primary School in Tena-Umoja. [Patrick Vidija, Standard]

Police officers investigating the death of a Grade Eight pupil at Joy Gardens Primary in Umoja-Tena are banking on CCTV and DNA test results from suspects to unravel the mystery.

The officers from Buruburu Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) are seeking to establish whether Wesley Njiru, 13, died by suicide.

They are also probing whether the pupil was murdered and his body thrown off the building.

Five suspects were arrested on Friday last week. Among them were two directors, a head teacher and an accountant. A dormitory mistress was also arrested.

Jane Kamau, James Mungai, Caroline Matheka, Antony Kimani and Vanice Bosire were arrested after giving contradicting statements to the police concerning the incident.

The school management told DCI officers that the pupil died Friday evening after jumping down from the rooftop of the eight-storey building that houses the school.

In her account, Ms Kamau, the school’s director told investigators that the pupil was discovered missing at 6.30pm when he did not show up for supper.

Wesley Njiru. [Courtesy, Family]

She said a search was then conducted throughout the school’s building and its then that his body was found on the first-floor balcony outside her office.

“After visiting the scene, police who examined the body established that the injuries on it were not consistent with a fall from a higher floor as insinuated by the management, leading to their arrest,” said Buruburu DCI officer, Daniel Ng’etich.

“They have given so many versions of what happened. For now, we are not able to ascertain who is telling the truth. That is why they have to accompany us to the station so that we can zero down to the incident report,” Ng’etich said.

Suspects released on bail

The suspects were on Thursday afternoon released on a Sh500,000 cash bail each or an alternative bond of Sh300,000 each and surety of a similar amount.

Senior Principal Magistrate Justus Kituku in his orders directed the suspects to surrender all travel documents to the police and present themselves anytime they are called upon by the police.

“Until a decision is made by this court, the respondents shall not access the premises of the school, directly or indirectly interfere with the investigations,” said Justice Kituku.

The DCI, through the prosecution, had sought to hold the suspects for 21 days to conclude investigations into the possible murder of Wesley. The prosecution argued that if released, the suspects would interfere with key witnesses in the case majority being pupils and staff at the school.

“The respondents hold senior positions at the school. Two of them are directors and one a headteacher, with these positions, they are likely going to interfere with our work,” the DCI said.

But the magistrate in his ruling said the prosecution had not presented sufficient evidence that directly linked the suspects to the death of Wesley.

Police had also downplayed claims that the deceased died by suicide after jumping from the building and said that he would have been murdered elsewhere within the school premises before his body was dumped on the balcony.

However, postmortem results presented in court indicated that Wesley died instantly after a fall from a height.

The results further indicated that the deceased suffered fractured limbs including legs, hands and spinal cord.

“We have also established fresh anal bruises indicating that the deceased would have suffered molestation before his death,” the prosecution told the court.

The court directed that DNA swabs be conducted on two of the suspects and the case be mentioned in two weeks.

Molestation puzzle

DCI is also investigating claims of molestation.

Defence lawyers however dismissed the reports saying the pupil could have been molested at home before he resumed school from mid-term.

The court allowed DNA swabs to be conducted on two of the five suspects. Ngétich told parents that they are finding it hard to connect the dots based on details provided by the suspects.

“We are aware that the school on the fateful day had a parent’s meeting which ended past 6pm with some parents leaving the premises at almost 7pm. If truly this boy fell from a height, how come no one heard, how is it even the watchman who was at the gate just where the deceased fell did not hear or see anything? the DCI posed.

Mr Ngetich said just outside the school premises, there are several business premises that during the evening hours are jammed with customers and yet, no one saw anything.

“The biggest challenge we are facing is those who saw the incident happen but they have chosen to remain silent. If they come out, they will play a key role in helping Wesley get justice,” he said. The DCIO said they are seeking to establish what happened after Wesley was interrogated and who was the last person in contact with him.