An 82-year-old woman from Thika, Kiambu County, whose decomposing body was discovered nine months after her death, may have been killed, detectives now believe, adding a new twist to the case that has shocked the country.
Preliminary investigations by the police, which have now been taken over by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Homicide Unit, suggest a well-coordinated murder plot after the carcasses of Ms Leah Njeri’s dogs and chickens were found in her compound. .
“If you analyse the whole situation and put into the context her age and what we found out there—the over 20 chickens and her dogs dead and decomposed—you can rightly say whoever did this planned to kill her.
“It is highly likely that whoever killed her by poisoning or by whatever means was well known to her and knew very well that place is not frequented by people so it was not easy for the body to be discovered soon,” two detectives conversant with the investigations told the Nation in confidence.
Thika Directorate of Criminal Investigations Officer Joseph Thuvi declined to comment on the matter. Mr Martin Nyuguto who is the head of homicide at the DCI headquarters, also did not respond to our calls.
Jamaica Estate in Landless area, where Njeri lived, is an emerging settlement, with most of the houses in advanced stages of construction. It is a dusty area with minimal foot traffic and about two shops in operation.
Ms Njeri’s house is located opposite Carta Oakhill School, a day care, kindergarten and primary school. Its playground is just opposite Njeri’s house.
No one in sight
When the Nation visited the home, no one responded even after ringing the bell. There was no one in sight and no meeting or burial arrangements were taking place.
Since the retired teacher’s remains were discovered, police and neighbours said, none of her relatives have visited the area.
Njeri’s son, Charles Githuka, who lives less than 800 metres away, was not in his house when we knocked at his gate.
Mr Githuka’s wife is a teacher at a school located less than a kilometre from Njeri’s house and uses the same road that connects her home to that of her mother in-law.
Njoroge Njuguna is one of the neighbours who raised the alarm about Njeri’s whereabouts. He said yesterday that he and other neighbours became worried after not seeing Njeri for a long time.
They raised the issue with police officers from Makongeni Police Station who escalated the matter to Thika Police Station through its DCI office. The officers then visited the homestead and made the discovery. They took Njeri’s remains to General Kago Funeral Home in Thika.
Mr Njuguna said when they got inside the house, it was in disarray.
“The television set had been broken and the clothes were scattered all over. From my opinion, it seems like someone was ransacking the house for something and he or she was in hurry to get it,” said Mr Njuguna.
Another neighbour said that even the ceiling of the house looked like it had been tampered with and house items were scattered all over.
Njeri lived a solitary and lonely life. Neighbours say she was an introvert who kept it to herself, rarely interacting with others.
“The last time I talked to her is when her house was being constructed. By then, she had fallen out with her husband who used to work for a fruit processing company in Thika. I was selling porridge to the people who were building her house. I never interacted with her again. Everyone knows she just was not a social person,” Ms Millicent Mwangi ,who hawks porridge and tea in areas’ construction sites told the Nation.
General Kago Funeral Home manager John Matere on Wednesday (August 9, 2023) said that so far, none of her family members had visited the facility to claim the body.
“The family members know Ms Njeri’s remains are here but I haven’t seen anyone coming forward since the body was brought here,” Mr Matere said.