Family accuses US-based Kenyan man of burning girlfriend with hot water, wants him repatriated

Danstan Omari

Lawyer Danstan Omari speaking on behalf of the family at Kisii DCI offices on September 23, 2023.

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula I Nation Media Group

The family of a 20-year-old college student who was allegedly scalded by her US-based Kenyan boyfriend wants the man arrested and brought back to the country to face justice.

The family of Mercy Momanyi accuses Mr Sheldon Ombongi of the assault and in a report to detectives. They have asked  Interpol to arrest him so that he can face charges in Kenya. 

“This is an issue that concerns a person who is allegedly staying in the USA. The Department of Immigration must be involved. I have confirmed here with the police that they have written to the Director-General of Immigration wanting to know some critical issues," the family’s lawyer, Mr Danstan Omari, told journalists in Kisii.  

The family wants to know: When the alleged aggressor left the country to the USA; what is his status in the USA and if he has left the country, then he should be brought back to face the law. 

The victim’s family from Mosocho in Kitutu Chache Constituency insists that the Embassy of United States in Kenya should order for the repatriation of the Kenyan national from Minnesota to face justice for the alleged assault.

The young woman was admitted with second-degree burns on her face, legs and chest, spent three weeks in a private hospital in Kisii town and has been discharged to recuperate at home.

She was allegedly assaulted by the boyfriend after a disagreement. 

Speaking to the Nation, the college student claimed that she was allegedly burnt with hot water by her US-based boyfriend, who has since gone underground.

The boyfriend is alleged to have also burned his mother after she came to rescue the victim, and is suspected to have fled back to the USA.

Kisii County Police Commander Charles Kases said they are investigating the incident and have launched a man-hunt for the suspect. 

"The case is with us, we are pursuing the suspect who has gone into hiding," said Mr Kases.

Ms Momanyi, in her statement, detailed the assault as: “My name is Mercy Momanyi, and I am 20-years old. I had an argument with my fiancée, Sheldon Ombongi, over an issue he did not want discussed. He hit me for raising the issue.

"I decided to go and inform his mother who was in the kitchen, that he had beaten me up for no cause. Just as I was talking to his mother, Sheldon came and picked boiling water, which was meant to cook ugali, and poured it on me….he beat me more and I fainted.” 

She alleged that the boyfriend had formed a habit of assaulting her whenever he was in Kenya. 

Groaning in pain and constantly breaking down, the victim alleged that Momanyi, fled with her mobile phone and all her personal identification documents.

The Human Resource second year student at a college in Embu said she was unable to return to college because her boyfriend has grounded her, both physically and also by taking away her documents.

A human rights advocate based in Kisii Mr Elijah Anyona condemned the incident and called on the government to take up the matter.

Medics at Bosongo Hospital said the victim suffered second degree burns with a total surface area burn of 10 percent. The victim is unable to stand or walk. 

Relatives led by the victim's sister Brilliant Momanyi claimed that the family of the alleged assailant had demanded the case be withdrawn as a condition of helping pay the bill. 

Kisii Woman Rep Dorice Aburi says that gender-based violence had become rampant in Kisii and blamed authorities for failing to protect the victims.

“In the recent past, cases of gender based violence have been ramped up in this region. Whenever victims run to the police for protection, officers claim that domestic matters are not supposed to be handled by police,” said Ms Aburi.