For three weeks, the family of retired senior police officer Stanley Njiru, who disappeared under unclear circumstances from his home in Majimbo, Embu County, hoped they would find him alive.
Mr Njiru, 60, had left for Embu town on September 2 to buy building materials but he disappeared, with some residents reporting that they had seen him board a matatu.
His family reported him missing at the Itabua Police Station. In a tragic turn of events that has left investigators scratching their heads, his decomposing body was discovered more than 100km away lying at the Isiolo Referral Hospital morgue.
Detectives say Mr Njiru checked into a lodge in Isiolo town on the evening of the day he disappeared, only for cleaners to find his body the following morning.
“His legs were leaning on the ground and he had not removed his shoes,” an investigator told the Nation, referring to a report made at the Isiolo Police Station about an unidentified body that had not been claimed until yesterday.
Detectives say Mr Njiru had left his phones, personal documents and a wallet loaded with Sh28,000 at home.
His wife of 30 years had told police that she did not know of any disputes her husband might have had with anyone, although family members suspected he might have been abducted by criminals.
It is not clear how Mr Njiru found his way to Isiolo, by which means, the purpose of his travel and if he was with anyone.
Identified the body
Family members visited the Isiolo Referral Hospital morgue on Wednesday and identified the body, which will be moved to Embu because the hospital lacks postmortem services.
The events that preceded Mr Njiru’s disappearance suggest that he was distressed.
Before he retired in March this year, police sources say, he was transferred to Embu from Mombasa because he was on medication for depression.
A relative at the police headquarters at Vigilance House helped him process his Sh3.5 million retirement package.
Mr Njiru, the Nation understands, wanted to use the money to build a house in Majimbo but his wife wanted him to buy land elsewhere and build a home there.
"She insisted on buying land within Embu town, which cost them about Sh2.5 million. The remaining money would cater for the construction,” an Embu-based detective revealed.
Before he went missing, Mr Njiru had reportedly spent a huge chunk of the remaining money and was worried that construction could be delayed.
He had also been notified that the land where he was building the house had a public sewer line where no construction was allowed, meaning he could have been defrauded.
“All these could have stressed him up and made him contemplate harming himself,” the officer said.
Plans were underway to move the body to Embu, where an autopsy would be conducted to establish the cause of death, Isiolo County Criminal Investigations boss Betty Chepng’eno told the Nation.
"The family has already identified the body, which will be moved to Embu, where our officers will take over the investigations,” she said.