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Mystery murders, abductions baffle families, police

By Harold Odhiambo | October 19th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Thomas Odhiambo. Kisumu Businessman who was found dead under mysterious circumstances after he disappeared on September 30, 2020.

When Thomas Ochieng, who runs an eatery in Kisumu left work to meet a caller about two weeks ago, he was optimistic that he would strike a business deal.

The 41-year-old father of five, commonly known as ‘Chuks’, confided in his friends that the caller wanted him to provide catering services for his 40 guests for three days.

Mr Ochieng hired a boda boda rider, to take him to a hotel in Milimani where he was to meet the guests.

He asked the motorcyclist a friend, to accompany him to the hotel, where they met three people.

Later, they went to a night club in the Central Business District and parted ways after agreeing to seal the deal the following morning.

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On Wednesday at 8am, Ochieng left his house to meet the clients.

Recovered from the lake

His family and workers were looking forward to seeing him later in the day.

Little did they know that Ochieng would join the statistics of people who have mysteriously gone missing only to be found brutally murdered days later.

The mysterious disappearance of people in the region has baffled security agencies as no suspects have been arrested. Several people have gone missing, including a teacher and his driver who are yet to be found.

About three days after Ochieng’s disappearance, the body was found lying at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital mortuary with deep cuts and some body parts missing.

The body was taken to the mortuary by Kenya Coast Guard Service officers after they recovered it from Lake Victoria.

The family has started burial plans for the businessman even as they plead for justice.

The deceased’s cousin, David Guya, said they now live in fear as they do not know the motive of the killing of the man who led a peaceful life in Dunga.

“We do not know why our brother was killed. We are only hoping that his killers will be brought to book,” said Mr Guya.

But the family is not alone, a few metres from their home the family of a teacher who was also brutally murdered and dumped in a sewage lagoon is yet to come to terms with his death.

The decomposing body of Joseph Onyango was found floating in a sewage lagoon a few days after he mysteriously went missing from his home. The body had deep cuts and the family suspects he was tortured before he was murdered.

When the Sunday Standard visited his home yesterday, the widow, Mercy Otieno, was attending to their five-year-old child.

“He was our sole bread winner and his murder has completely destroyed our lives,” she said as she battled tears.

Onyango was a primary school teacher in Nyakach sub-county.

“He did not have any issues with anyone and we are still wondering why he had to die that way,” she said.

In the past one month, three cases of people who have gone missing only to be found murdered have been reported in the region as pressure piles on security agents to bring perpetrators to book.

Other cases have been reported since the year began, including the brutal murder of a 42-year-old NGO worker in Riat.

Caren Anyango’s body was found in a pool of blood in an office block where she worked as a support staff and caretaker for Community Initiative Action Group (CIAG-K) and Transparency International (TI).

Yesterday, Chris Owala, a colleague, said no suspects have been arrested.

Interdicted

A nurse, Ferdinand Ongeri, 40, was abducted by unknown people at Riat dispensary. His body was later found dumped in a forest in Nandi, several kilometres away.

A post-mortem report indicated that he died due to excessive bleeding after his throat was slit and mouth slashed with a sharp object.

In August, the body of a teacher who went missing a few weeks after she was interdicted was found dumped by the roadside at Tido. 

And as concerns grow over mysterious deaths, several families are also struggling to find their kin who have gone missing.

In Nyamasaria, the family of Enock Odhiambo, a primary school teacher, is yet to find him and his driver, more than a month after they left home to attend a burial in Migori.

His car was found abandoned a few metres from Sondu. Yesterday, his wife Milka Oyoyo pleaded with police to help locate her husband.

“My children have been asking me where their father is, but I do not know what to tell them,” she said.

Spent a fortune

The family said they have spent a fortune in an attempt to locate the two.

Activists have challenged police officers to resolve the cases and ensure justice is served to the families.

Yesterday, County Commander Ranson Lolmodol said they were yet to arrest any suspects as investigations continue.

“We have already launched investigations into the murders. In the case of the missing persons, we have opened a file and we are doing our best to trace them,” said Lolmodol.

On Friday, activists led by Audi Ogada presented a petition to security agencies in Kisumu to push them to bring the perpetrators to book.


THE STANDARD INSIDER

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