Blinded: Family feud dims baby Sagini's future

Alex Maina Ochogo who is accused of gouging out the eyes of 3-year-old Brighton Junior Sagini when he was brought before the court on December 19, 2022. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Police are putting up pieces of evidence that could lead to the arrest of the main suspect in the kidnap and gouging out of Baby Sagini’s eyes in Ikuruma village Marani, Kisii County.

The shocking details have emerged even as police trace the whereabouts of the victim’s aunt who is said to be hiding in Nairobi. In the background of investigations are allegations of long-standing family feuds.

Three-year-old Baby Sagini was found dumped at his family’s banana plantation on Thursday with his face covered with blood after being kidnapped on Wednesday evening. 

He was rushed to the Kisii Eye Hospital where he is recuperating after a surgical procedure.

Yesterday, a magistrate’s court allowed police to detain Alex Maina Ochogo, 26, a suspect implicated in the gruesome act, for five days as investigations continue.

Ochogo appeared on court while handcuffed and dressed in a black sweater and tattered jeans while his hands appeared blood stained. 

Senior Resident Magistrate Christine Ogweno ordered that the suspect be held at Rioma Police station and appear in court on December 23, 2022, for plea taking and mention of the matter. The suspect was arrested on December 14, 2022.

Prosecutor Hillary Kaino told the court that prior to the night of the incident, Ochogo and the missing main suspect were at home.

Ochogo is a cousin to the victim. The missing suspect is the mother to Ochogo, and an aunt to Baby Sagini.

On Wednesday mid-morning, Ochogo is alleged to have escorted his mother to Kisii Bus terminus where she is said to have boarded a bus to Nairobi. He was arrested later in the day.

“These were the people who were last seen in the company of the victim. The skeleton file clearly indicates that Ochogo was in touch with the main suspect. Preliminary investigations lead to the charges of the suspect being an accomplice or part of the people to be charged as main key suspects,” said Kaino.

Police are also holding the child’s mother Maureen Nyaboke at Nyanchwa Police station.

Marani Sub County Commander Benjolife Munuve confirmed the arrest, saying Nyaboke was to be charged in court for neglecting her children. “She is currently at the Kisii Law Court holding cells awaiting arraignment.”

Nyaboke was driven out of Kisii Law Court holding cells by the Director of Criminal Investigations soon after Ochogu appeared in court.

The mother who has been separated from her husband was last at home on May 5, 2022 when she dropped off her two children and left. She later visited the home on June 5 and July 7.

John Makori, the victim’s father, saved his wife from the impending charges, by admitting on camera that his wife had been sending him some money for the children’s upkeep.

Police had picked Makori from his home on Friday and later released him.

Makori said when Baby Sagini went missing, he visited several homes in the area but he could not trace his son. “We never informed the police nor the area chief. I thought of searching for the baby before informing the authorities with the mind that we could trace him.”

“I tried calling the mother but her phone was off. I resorted to doing some house chores. Few hours later, my mother was informed of the baby lying along some path not far from my house.”

Rael Nyakerario, the child’s grandmother said the victim had gone missing on Tuesday as he went out fetching water from a nearby spring. “We waited through the evening and the night but the child didn’t return.”  

She said that her other grandchild informed her that Baby Sagini was lying along some path near their house.

“I carried the baby to my house but I couldn’t immediately notice that his eyes had been gouged out.”

Dr Dan Kiage an Ophthalmologist and Director at Kisii Eye Specialist Hospital says  the child will never gain his eyesight.