They disappear, then they are found dead. This is a trend now common with mysterious killings in Nyeri County.
In the past six months, 10 people have been reported missing, only to be found dead. Of the cases, reported in different areas of the county, four of the victims were children.
Most of the cases have been ruled to be murder but police have made little to no progress in solving them.
The most recent case was reported a week ago. A man who had been reported missing on December 9 was found dead in River Gikira in Othaya.
Police say they are yet to establish how he died, as the postmortem on the body is yet to be conducted.
“The post-mortem has not been done yet, so we cannot rule on the cause of death at the moment,” Nyeri South Sub-County Police Commander Serah Kok told the Nation.
The Othaya-based sub-county police department also has two more unsolved homicides, both involving minors.
Two suspects have been arrested over the disappearance and murder of a Form Two girl in the area. She was found murdered in Kairuthi last month.
However, the case of the horrendous torture and murder of four-year-old Sylvia Wanjiru remains unsolved, with police saying they have no leads.
The child was abducted from her home, raped, stabbed multiple times and beaten to death before being dumped in a river.
On October 31 she was playing outside with other children, but sometime in the afternoon, she vanished.
The partially decomposed and half-naked body of the child was found floating in the river two weeks later.
The horrors of how she met her death were, however, revealed at the end of the postmortem.
The postmortem, conducted at Mukurwe-ini Sub County Hospital Mortuary, shows that the child was sexually assaulted, stabbed multiple times and hit repeatedly using both blunt and sharp objects. She suffered a broken arm, four broken ribs and a fractured skull. She had also been stabbed three times.
The medical examiner concluded that little Sylvia died of “severe head, chest, abdominal and genital injuries, secondary to sharp and blunt trauma”.
Similarly, the deaths of three-year-old Dylan Wachira two-year-old Kian Wachira remain a mystery.
The brothers were last seen in the company of their mother when she left her parents’ home in Kangemi, Nyeri County, on November 1.
She reportedly left the house around 3pm, saying she was going out to bask with the boys. She was found the following day sitting in the corridor of a home in Marua, about 15km from her home. Her clothes were soaking wet and she appeared confused. Her two boys were missing.
Their bodies were found in River Sagana two weeks later.
Postmortems showed the brothers drowned, but a 10-hour gap between November 1 and the dawn of November 2 remains a blur.
Investigations have since shown that she had been trying to find her way to her grandparents' home in Gachika. She reportedly made stops in Thunguma and Githiru before she disappeared. She was last seen with her sons in Githiru at 8pm on November 1.
With the mother said to have a history of mental illness, police have hit a dead end in uncovering what transpired on the night of November 1.
The case could be headed for an inquest before a magistrate as police say the mother is still under psychiatric care.
“The mother is still in hospital and since the cause of death was drowning, it appears we will seek an inquest in court. But either way we will have to wait until she recovers as she has the most vital information,” Mathira West Police boss Jane Nyacheruma said.
The mysterious disappearance and murders of Evans Maina, 39, Joseph Gakubu 32, and Alex Mwangi, 18, from Mathira, also remain unsolved, amid accusation of police brutality by their relatives.
Gakubu, a mechanic from Mathira in Nyeri County, received a phone call on July 9, with the offer of a welding job in Nyeri town. He asked his two friends to join him for the job, and the three were never seen alive again.
Three weeks later, their badly disfigured bodies were found in a mortuary in Thika, Kiambu County.
According to police reports, the bodies were found in Masinga Dam and taken to the Thika Level Four Hospital. Postmortems show Gakubu drowned with his hands tied while his friends were beaten to death and their bodies dumped in the dam more than 200km from their home.
The push by their relatives for justice has yielded nothing, even as circumstantial evidence suggests they could have died at the hands of rogue police, execution style.
Sources within the police department disclosed an alleged well-calculated plot to kill the three men over claims they had been hired to abduct and possibly kill a local tycoon.
Details of the alleged abduction plan remain scanty, but it is said they were to use a woman to lure the businessman into a trap.
The unidentified woman, however, fell out with one of the gang members before they could execute the mission. She then tipped off the businessman, who alerted police. The woman would then be turned against her accomplices and laid a trap for them instead, leading them to their capture and subsequent murder.
The last known whereabouts of Gakubu, Mwangi and Maina are said to be around Jambo area in Karatina, Nyeri County, at 6pm on July 9, 2020.
Police in Nyeri have already denied involvement and even withdrawn from the investigations, saying their counterparts in Kiambu and Machakos counties should investigate since the crimes was committed in their jurisdictions.