Schoolgirl goes missing after suspension

By Marion Ndung’u

She was sent home from school on March 19, but to date she is yet to reach home.

Evelyn Njeri, a 15-year-old Form Two student at Gatugi Girls’ Secondary School in Othaya, has given her family sleepless nights since they realised that she had gone missing.

Mrs Mary Wanjiku holds the photo of her

daughter Evelyn Njeri. [Photo: George Mulala/Standard]

Her mother, Mary Wanjiku, says she is a quiet girl and cannot explain how she could run away from home. The family lives in Thandie in Kiandu, Nyeri County.

On Saturday March 17, Njeri got into trouble with the school administration after allegedly sneaking in foodstuff into the school after a school trip to Nairobi.

Consequently, she was suspended from school for one week and asked to bring her parents when resuming school.

School’s negligence

The school did not call her parents to inform them of the suspension. And the girl did not make it home.

Her parents only got to know that their daughter had been sent home a week later when the school’s principal called to enquire why the girl had not returned to school.

“The principal told me to go to school as soon as possible. Since I was in Nyeri town, I boarded the next car to Othaya,” says Wanjiku.

She says she was confused when asked by the principal to give her name, where she stays and her chief’s name.

The principal told her that when she called Wanjiku to ask where her daughter was, her response had told her that there was a problem.

It was here that she learned that her daughter had been sent away. An emotional Wanjiku says that she is yet to make sense of the series of events that led to the disappearance of her last-born daughter.

The case has been reported to the police in Othaya. However, Wanjiku laments that the progress of tracing her daughter is too slow.

She says police established that Njeri was in constant communication with a friend and her former schoolmate who lived in Malindi.

“I had a phone, which I gave her to use during school holidays so we could communicate,” says Wanjiku.

It is using this phone that she would communicate with her friend, as was established by the police.

Police inaction

Wanjiku claims that police asked her to pay money for fuel so that they could go look for her daughter in Malindi, something she was unable to do even though the school had offered to take care of half the amount.

“I cannot afford the money they were asking for. I was hoping that somehow she would show up after the schools were closed, but I am yet to see her,” says a tearful Wanjiku.

Wanjiku says that two weeks after her disappearance, somebody called Njeri’s line but her son-in- law, who was in possession of the phone, was not able to answer.

When he returned the call, a male voice answered and told him that he had not made the call. He said a girl, who fitted Njeri’s description, had made the call.

He later called again asking them to send him Sh600 so that he could find her. With the advice of the police, they sent him the money in order to establish the name of the phone owner.

Wanjiku remembers only the second name as Ouma.

Even after the involvement of the mobile service provider to help trace the number, police have not been able to arrest the man involved for reasons she does not understand.

“Police arrest criminals from among a crowd in broad daylight. Why can’t they find the man who may have information on my daughter’s whereabouts?” she wonders.

As far as Wanjiku is concerned, Njeri was not involved with any man although she fears that she might get a job and forget about school.

Fear factor

When returning to school after midterm, Njeri had only received Sh300 from her parents after saying she had gotten a lift home and had not used her fare.

She said that Njeri was afraid of being punished and feared she may have been scared to go home after being sent away from school.

For Wanjiku though, the most important thing is being able to find her daughter and says she does not care about the mistake she did.

“If she can hear me I would like to urge her to please come home. If she does not have money for transport we will go get her wherever she is,” said Wanjiku.

The police are aware of the incident and are carrying out investigation into the matter.

The principal said the matter was under police investigation and they were waiting for the outcome.