Described by family and neighbours as bubbly, intelligent and full of life, 12-year old Jasmine Njoki would today be in school attending classes and playing with her colleagues as usual.
However, the life of the grade six pupil at Nakuru's Roots Academy was snuffed out at a tender age, by unknown assailants on Tuesday evening as she returned home from school.
They waylaid her as she headed home at around 5pm, defiled her, killed her, and dumped her body in a thicket.
Who killed her and why? Did she have to die at such a tender age? These are some of the questions that the girl's family is now grappling with.
Her family in Kasambara village in Gilgil constituency, Nakuru County is now seeking justice for their daughter even as her parents are yet to come to terms with her death.
They say they did not have a grudge with anyone in the village and wondered why their daughter was attacked and killed.
Preliminary investigations by sleuths from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations indicate that the child was defiled before she was murdered in cold blood.
A senior detective yesterday revealed to the Nation that samples from will be taken to the Government Chemist in Nairobi for analysis to help track down her killers.
"We are currently piecing together information to help arrest Jasmine's killers," the senior detectives said.
Gilgil sub-county Police Commander Francis Tumbo told the Nation that police have launched investigations and have also dispatched more officers to the area for regular patrols.
When Jasmine failed to return home on Tuesday evening, her parents and neighbours searched for her but failed to trace her.
Mr James Mutugi, the family spokesperson, said that Jasmine was dropped by the school bus at 5pm in Mbaruk trading centre at the usual spot, but she did not reach home that evening.
He said that after getting impatient, her father phoned the school administration who confirmed that Jasmine was dropped by the school bus at the usual spot.
Mr Mutugi said the girl’s parents got worried and sought help from neighbours who volunteered to help conduct a search within the neighbourhood.
However, the search ended tragically two hours later after Jasmine's body was found dumped in a thicket along a railway line, about 800 metres from their home.
According to Mr Mutugi, they called police officers who came and picked the body, moving it to Gilgil sub-county mortuary where it is awaiting post-mortem.
"She was dropped by the school bus where she always alights. She went missing on her way home. The incident has left the family in shock and despair,” Mr Mutugi told the Nation.
Recalling the last time he saw Jasmine alive, Mr Mutugi said that he met her on Sunday as she returned home from church and she was jovial and full of life.
“She was a good girl; she was loved in the village. She was respectful. It is unfortunate that we have lost her," he added.
Jasmine's father Francis Wambugu, who is yet to come to terms with her first born child's gruesome murder, called for speedy investigations and for justice to be served.
"She was not only my daughter but also a friend; I loved her very much. We will miss our jovial and respectful girl," he said.
On Wednesday, mourners thronged the home of Mr Wambugu to condole and pray with them.
Ms Saweri Wakaba, a resident, told the Nation that she was alerted about the incident by screams coming from Jasmine's homestead. When she got to the home, Jasmine's mother informed them that she was missing and that they needed help to search for her.
“She went to school as usual but some criminals decided to take her life. We plead with the government to clear the bushes along the railway as youths have resorted in idling there,” she said, adding that they now fear for their children’s safety near the bushy path.
Ms Saweri pleaded with the government to establish a police station and increase police patrols in the area to curb such cases.
Another resident, Mr Joseph Geshimo, said cases of insecurity have been on the rise in the area, as youths have resorted to engage in drug and substance abuse and idling along the Naivasha-Nakuru railway line.
He said that the youths idle in the evening along the railway line and locals have reported the matter to the area senior chief, but no action has been taken.
“The police station that is serving us is more than five kilometres away. We just want security to be enhance and officers to patrol," he said.