Broken ribs and limbs: Autopsy reveals the horrific torture of Embu secretary before death

 Josephine Karimi,  24, who was found dead in a pit latrine at Catholic Women Association (CWA) centre in Kiaragana, Embu.

Photo credit: Courtesy

Had she lived, she would have told the horrifying story of the excruciating pain she suffered at the hands of her attacker.

Josephine Karimi, 24, a secretary with the Catholic Church, was found brutally murdered and dumped in a disused pit latrine at the St Mary's Catholic Women Association (CWA) Centre in Kiaragana, Embu County, where she worked.

In a shocking revelation, her left hand, left rib and sternum were broken. According to the post-mortem report, Karimi was also strangled.

"The post-mortem conducted at the Embu Referral Hospital mortuary revealed that my daughter's hand, rib and sternum were fractured. She had also been strangled. The killer may have used a scarf to snuff out Karimi's life. My daughter died in great pain," said Mr Simon Kivuti Gatumu.

The assailant, whose motive, according to detectives was rape, may have used a blunt object to inflict injuries on the young woman and silence her forever.

In the wake of the gruesome murder, family members are meeting daily to mourn their loved one.

"We are making funeral arrangements and we have agreed to bury our daughter on Tuesday," said Mr Gatumu.

But before the funeral, family and friends will light candles in honour of Karimi and pay tribute to her life.

Detectives have linked a casual labourer to the secretary's murder. They arrested Mr Boniface Yakulula in connection with the murder after he led them to the scene.

"It was the suspect who told us he knew where the deceased was and we definitely hold him responsible for the death," said a senior police officer who declined to be quoted due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The officer revealed that the suspect "just wanted to sexually assault the woman".

"The motive was rape. The man took advantage of the fact that the woman was alone in the CWA centre to attack and rape her," the officer said.

Preliminary investigations showed that the woman had bruises on her neck and hands.

"It appears that the woman was trying to defend herself from the attacker as she had bruises on her hands," the officer added.

According to detectives, the woman and the suspect lived in separate houses within the centre, which is run by the Catholic Diocese of Embu.

Police move the body of the woman from Catholic Women Association (CWA) centre in Kiaragana, Embu, where she was found dead in a disused pit latrine.

Photo credit: George Munene | Nation Media Group

It is suspected that the man, who is in his 20s and hails from Vihiga in Western Kenya, attacked the woman in the early hours of Thursday last week when there was no one else at the centre. He fatally assaulted her and threw her her body into the pit.

Under pressure from detectives, he revealed the whereabouts of the body, which had begun to decompose.

The man, a school dropout, was employed at the centre last year to clear bushes and look after dairy cows, among other menial tasks.

Karimi was fresh on the job, and had been working for just one week when she was killed.

Ms Karimi was last seen on Wednesday, June 28. She had lunch with her mother and returned to work.

But the next day, her family became worried that something was wrong when calls to her mobile phone went unanswered.

Following the disappearance, the family reported the matter to the Runyenjes police station and recorded a statement.

"When we did not see our daughter at the centre, I personally reported the matter to the police and detectives immediately started investigations," said Mr Gatumu.

Karimi’s body was found by detectives five days later.

The family described Karimi as a humble and hardworking person who did not deserve to die in pain.

"What we want is justice. The suspect should pay for the sins he has committed," said another family member.

A court in Runyenjes has allowed police to hold the main suspect in the murder for 14 days to allow detectives to complete their investigations.

Resident Magistrate Sharon Ouko ordered the suspect's detention following an application by an investigating officer.

The officer, Nassir Omar, told the court that more time was needed to thoroughly investigate the murder, take the suspect to hospital for mental health assessment and forward the file to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for instructions.

Mr Omar also said he needed time to receive data from Safaricom and a post-mortem report for analysis and to record statements from more witnesses.

As a result, the magistrate granted the application and ordered that Mr Yakulula be escorted back to police cells until next week when the matter will be mentioned.

The killing sent shockwaves through the diocese and Karimi's village of Kivwe.

Neighbours described Karimi as a young woman who had gone 'too soon'.

They said before Karimi was employed as a secretary, she spent her time at home helping her parents.

"She lived a quiet life and we don't know why she was eliminated in such a cruel way," one of the neighbours said, adding that the killer should not go unpunished.

The neighbours said they knew Karimi well and had a good relationship with her.

"When she completed her secretarial course, she waited patiently until recently when she was lucky enough to get a job at the CWA centre, but unfortunately, she never lived to benefit from it and build her career," another neighbour said.