Kin of student who drowned in Canada seek help to bring body

Brian Kiprop's parents Jacob and Hellen Limo at their home in Chepkoilel, Uasin Gishu County. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

The family of a Kenyan student, who died in Winnipeg, Canada, is yet to come to terms with his demise four years after he left to pursue university studies.

The decomposing body of Brian Kiprop, 23, was reportedly found on July 17, in River Winnipeg.

Kiprop was studying Information Technology at the University of Manitoba. He was said to have looked disturbed before he went missing.

Jacob Limo, the deceased’s father, told The Standard during an interview at his home in Chekoilel that his son was passionate about IT and that he had dreams of being a great innovator. 

“When my son left home on August 28, 2019, he was hopeful that he would complete his studies and pursue his dream job. We supported him, we sold our parcel of land and did a harambee. It is painful that he did not live to fulfil his dreams, but we are grateful for the memories we have shared,” said Limo. 

Limo said that his son, who was in second year, began his classes as soon as he landed in the country, but the Covid-19 pandemic affected his studies temporarily.

The distraught father said that the body is yet to be released from the medical examiner to the morgue and the family is yet to begin funeral arrangements.

He said that the authorities had wanted to cremate the body, but the family pleaded with the authorities to allow them to ferry the body home.

“We have also been told that the body is in bad shape and that it will be a challenge to ferry it home. We are calling for help from well-wishers to help us ferry our son home so that we can see him one last time as we seek closure. We had spent every penny we had on his education, and we have no money to travel to Canada or bring his body home,” said Limo. 

The family said that they had received information that their son might have developed a mental illness that could have resulted in his death.

Hellen Limo, the deceased’s mother, said that she last communicated with her son on July 11.

She said that her son was always in a jovial mood. 

“He texted me that he had lost his phone and that he needed 300 dollars urgently to buy a new phone. He had communicated with his father on July 7 over the same issue. While talking with his father, he had promised to refund him the money once he got paid,” recounted Hellen.

The mother said that her son had further complained about being disliked in a foreign country and claimed that he could be deported.

“We asked him to give us some time before we could send him the money, but the last texts sounded as if he was under duress. He was using a laptop to chat with us since his phone was spoiled. He stated in his last text that if he stopped typing, he might not chat again,” added Hellen.

The parents said that further attempts to reach their son failed, and their messages went unanswered.

The family said they contacted Kiprop’s roommate but he told them their son was away for work. 

“No one would tell us what happened to him. About a week later, the roommate texted us saying Brian was no more. He had been informed by the police,” the mother said.

The family is still awaiting a postmortem report.

They are seeking help to raise Sh2.5 million to bring their kin’s body home for a decent burial.