Of God, love and murder: How reconciliation turned deadly, leaving woman, her son dead

Five-year-old Caleb Muriithi who was allegedly killed by his step father at Mitunguu, Imenti South.

If Vera Kanario had heeded her father's advice, she would probably not be dead today. After she and her husband Boniface Mutuma separated in January this year, her father rented a house where she moved in with her five-year-old son, Caleb Muriithi.

Last month, the couple reconciled and Kanario moved to Mutuma’s house.

Then on Saturday, after fresh differences emerged, Mutuma allegedly killed her alongside her son, whom she got in a previous relationship.

Police are pursuing Mutuma, 37, who allegedly went into hiding after he committed the heinous act inside his house at Mitunguu, Imenti South, in Meru. The bodies were moved to Meru Level five hospital mortuary and are awaiting post-mortem.

Residents said Mutuma claimed he was a pastor and used to pray for his followers at a fee while Kanario used to work at a chemist in Mitunguu market. They had been living together for two years although they had separated briefly.

Mitunguu division Assistant County Commissioner Richard Korgoren said Mutuma is alleged to have murdered Kanario at around 10am by slitting her throat and later turning on the boy whom he stabbed on the neck. The knife was still lodged in the boy’s neck when police arrived.

“We got a report of the incident at around 11am on Saturday and when police went to the scene, they found the two bodies in a pool of blood. He killed them in the one-bedroom house where he lived and also conducted prayers,” Mr Korgoren said.

“Preliminary investigations indicate that after murdering the family, the suspect called the woman’s colleague at the chemist and told her they should go and collect the body. He then took a motorbike and escaped,” he added.

Mr Korgoren said when the couple had differences, Kanario’s father did not succeed to resolve the dispute and told his daughter to stay away from the man.

When they move in together again and domestic problems cropped up, neighbours reported that the couple had quarrelled several times.

Residents said they did not suspect Mutuma would resort to such action since he claimed to be a pastor and would hold prayers at his house.

He was also friendly to the boy and on Friday, Mutuma picked him up from Choices Academy, where he was a pre-primary pupil, and took him home.

Mr Romano Kirimi, the area manager and community policing chairman said it appeared Mutuma had planned to eliminate the two since the weapon he used – a large dagger – was new.

“At the scene of the crime, police found the knife, which was new since it still had the price tag of Sh150. There was also a Bible, a diary, and some writing materials,” Mr Kirimi said.

“He pretended to be a pastor and one resident had reported to me that he had asked her for Sh7,000 so that he could conduct prayers for her anointment and deliverance. When the landlord noticed that Mutuma was engaging in such activities he gave them notice to vacate the house,” he added.

The incident has left Mwithwa villagers reeling in shock, with those interviewed saying they thought the man was a genuine pastor.

“It is unfortunate that a man who used the word of God turned out to be a killer. We cannot believe what we have witnessed today,” said Ms Mercy Mbogo.