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Where is this boy? Family, school trade blame over missing student

NYANZA
By Stanley Ongwae | May 10th 2021
Kevin Machuki disappeared after getting permission to exit from school. His family is desperately looking for him. [Courtesy]

A family in Ogango, Manga Sub-county in Nyamira, is in distress following the disappearance of their kin after he left school more than three months ago.

According to the boy’s mother, Jane Mirambo, the family was not aware that he was missing until two days after schools closed for the Easter holidays.

“I waited for Kevin to come home but he didn’t show up. When we went to school to inquire about his whereabouts, we were told he had not been seen for nearly the entire term,” the mother told The Standard.

She said they reported her son’s missing at Sengera Police Station under OB 7/23/0/2021.

Ever since, it has been a blame game between the school administration and the family over who should bear responsibility for the missing boy.

An exit sheet recorded by the school administration and which was shared with police shows that Kevin Machuki, a Form One student at Nyaisa SDA Mixed Day and Boarding School, had left the institution on January 10 to attend a funeral at home.

“We are not aware of any funeral at home this year. The report is untrue,” Anne Kemunto, the boy’s sister-in-law said.

Remarks on the records of official communication between the school administration and Kevin’s mother indicates she could not be reached on phone to be alerted that her son had secured an exit from school to attend a funeral at home. However, a text message is said to have been sent to the parent to that effect.

“We could not deny the boy permission to attend a funeral, especially after he insisted he had to. After desperately trying to reach the mother on phone, we decided to let the boy go. A follow-up when he failed to report back a few days later was difficult since the mother could not be reached. The parent’s phone was off all the time,” Tobias Omollo, the school principal, said.

According to Mr Omollo, the parent should have made a follow-up at school after receiving the text message alerting them that their boy had been allowed out of school.

“We alerted the parent through an SMS after we failed to reach them. Why did they not respond in time after the boy failed to arrive home? We made another follow-up but there was no response,” he said.

The school head said their records show that on February 2, 2021, the mother went to school and paid Sh4,000 fee, but never sought to know his whereabouts or even inquire about his progress from the class teacher.

“It is a normal procedure that whenever a parent goes to his child’s school, he or she seeks a class teacher to inquire about their progress or even drop some pocket money for them. In Kevin’s case, he never had any money in the bursar’s pocket money account,” Omollo said.

But the mother said on the day she went to pay the fees, the students were sitting exams, and that was why she never inquired about her son. The claim was, however, contradicted by the school records.

A copy of the school’s official academic calendar that was shared with police probing the matter indicates that students were not sitting exams on the said day. Exams were conducted between February 9 and February 12, and not February 2, as the mother claimed.

Manga Police Commander Gabriel Mwangangi said the file on Kevin’s disappearance had been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

“We heard both parties and we have done investigations and made our recommendations, which we have forwarded to the DPP. It is evident that there was laxity somewhere, but it’s upon the DPP to make a determination on the case,” Mwangangi said.

Kemunto described Kevin as a calm person who had few friends.

“He was always quiet and very conservative. He has never been involved in any vices or bad company,” Kemunto said.

The family is appealing to anyone who could be having information on the whereabouts of the teenager to report to any police station.

[email protected]    

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