Puzzle of woman's death in Saudi after family call

George Otieno during an interview at home in Nakuru on January 9, 2023. His wife Judith Adhiambo died in Saudi Arabia on November 27, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The late Judith Adhiambo's husband and children can now rest easy after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia promised to facilitate the transportation of her body from Saudi Arabia to Nakuru on Thursday for burial.

A notice seen by The Standard advised the family to pick up her coffin from the airport. They were also assured that all her documents will be transported with her body.

"The kingdom to transport one body of one Adhiambo in a coffin from Saudi Arabia to Nairobi to Nakuru," read the notice.

George Otieno has been living in distress since his wife of 20 years died in unclear circumstances in Saudi Arabia on November 27 last year.

Otieno and his four children's hope had diminished as promises by the government and Adhiambo's recruitment agency that her remains would be transported in December last year went unfulfilled.

"Right now I feel relieved. It was a nightmare for us and we began to lose hope as each day passed," Otieno told The Standard.

He said when he received the news that his wife's body will be brought home, it was a mixed feeling of happiness and sadness.

"I was happy because she will be coming home but sad because she won't be returning home alive," he said.

He noted that his children will now be able to concentrate in school after they bury their mother.

According to Otieno, his children had been asking for their mother's body every day after school since they reported on January 23 this year.

"Our neighbours, relatives and children can now mourn, accept my wife's death and move on after over 100 days of distress," he saud.

He called on the government to do more to ensure no other family goes through what he and his underwent.

Otieno's last call to Adhiambo was a day before she died. He said the jovial Adhiambo promised him that she would arrive in Kenya the following day.

Otieno recalls that Adhiambo requested to speak to their four children and her younger sister.

"They spoke, laughed and joked for over an hour, not knowing it would be the last time they do so," he said.

The following day, he recounted that a stranger called him and said his wife had died. He could not believe it, having spoken to her less than 24 hours earlier.

Otieno heard that Adhiambo fell inside a bathroom in her holding room and died, which he confirmed after seeing posts in social media and getting further calls.

He described Adhiambo as a jovial, selfless and honest lady who decided to make a long trip to the Middle East in order to provide for the family.

Anthony Kamau, who is in charge of the agency that processed Adhiambo's travel, said it always takes long for the body to be transported.

Kamau noted that Saudi government has to investigate and establish whether there was foul play in her death before they release the body.

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