Mwathi's family to wait a little longer to know cause of death

Detectives assisted by residents exhume the remains of Jeff Mwathi on March 31, 2023 for a fresh autopsy in Likia, Njoro. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard]

Scenes of people milling around a family farm where Jeff Mwathi was buried and braving a strong stench after his exhumation defined their determination to get justice for him.

After four hours of digging, the detectives retrieved the casket bearing remains of the 23-year-old interior designer who died under mysterious circumstances at musician Lawrence Njuguna's house along Thika road.

Mwathi was buried at the family's farm in Likia, Njoro on March 3, amid outcry from members of the public which saw Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki order a fresh probe into the case.

It is alleged that the musician, popularly known as DJ Fatxo, had sought the services of Mwathi and went club hopping with him, later ending up to his (Fatxo's) Redwood Apartments in Kasarani, Nairobi on the night of February 22.

"We had to exercise extra caution in this exhumation. This was to ensure that no new injuries are caused on the body," said Rift Valley Regional Criminal Investigations Officer Francis Wanjau.

The exhumation and collection of a fresh post mortem was supervised by senior detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor conducted a postmortem on the remains in a makeshift facility set up next to the grave which has been under tight security.

How Mwathi died remains a mystery, with the repeat autopsy unable to shed light on exact cause of death.

Dr Oduor said it will take a little longer to know the actual cause or how Mwathi died because more analysis of samples and anal swabs taken from the decomposing body needed to be done.

He further noted that there were some artefact that caused changes in the body after death leading to misinterpretation of medically significant postmortem findings.

According to the seasoned pathologist, it was difficult to conclude whether what the first post-mortem showed was the same as what he saw during the second autopsy.

"We have taken samples for forensic toxicological analysis to know whether there were some toxins involved or whether there were any drugs involved," said Oduor.

He added that the collection of fresh samples and anal swabs were informed by claims that Mwathi may have been drugged and sodomised before he met his death under the unclear circumstances.

Oduor, however, confirmed the analysis of the first autopsy, which indicated that the deceased had severe head injuries, fractured upper and lower limbs, and fractures in the neck-the cervical spine.

"This is a person who died of very severe injuries. There were allegations of sodomy and that is one of the major reasons why we exhumed the body," said Oduor.

According to statements recorded by DJ Fatxo and others present at his house when the incident happened, Mwathi took his life by jumping from the twelfth floor apartment through a window.

Public mistrust in the detectives to conduct an objective probe played out during the repeat exercise as those present engaged in heated exchanges with the officers.

Speaking on behalf of the family, High Court advocate Wakahu Mbugua said the family was hopeful that the second autopsy would give them the much needed answers.