Nyeri teacher buried in low-key ceremony

A view of the house where the teacher was found dead.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

A Nyeri teacher, who was found dead in a coffin in his rental house, was laid to rest in a low-key ceremony Thursday.

Joseph Gathogo, who was a teacher at Muhoya Secondary School, was buried in a Catholic ceremony attended by his family, friends and teachers in Muruguru, Nyeri town.

The former Computer and Biology teacher had been missing for three weeks before he was found last week inside a coffin placed on a boat-like structure in his two-roomed semi-permanent house.

At the funeral attended by around 300 people, the deceased was eulogised as a smart, selfless and reserved individual.

Speaking to the Nation after the funeral Mr Nderi Mukundi, a long-time friend of the family, remembered him as a compassionate person who was always out to help others to an extent he forgot to take care of his well-being.

“This is probably where the society failed by not checking on him especially his mental health,” he said.

The burial came just a day after Gathogo’s landlord demolished the rental wooden house he had called home for the last 19 years.

On Wednesday afternoon, the landlord, neighbours accompanied by some clergy of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (P.C.E.A) in Ihururu held prayers outside the deceased’s rental house.

 After cleansing, the landlord then hired locals to demolish the house and burnt everything left of the deceased after his family collected his personal items. By Thursday morning, no trace of the house could be seen at the site.

“We took the abandoned items away from the compound and burnt them to ashes after holding prayers,” said a neighbour.

Part of the items set ablaze included a boat-like structure on which his coffin lay and pieces of timber that had made the coffin.

The boat-like structure which acted as a ‘grave’ had been made of concrete slabs covered with cardboard.

In the coffin, the high school teacher was found lying naked, but covered in a red ‘Maasai leso’ and polythene paper.

 An autopsy conducted at the Nyeri Provincial General Hospital Mortuary on Wednesday evening has since revealed that he died out of suffocation.

The post-mortem further showed that the deceased did not ingest any poison nor have any bodily injuries.

Currently, the police are trying to establish what a reddish liquid substance found inside the coffin was and unidentified chemical poured inside the boat-like coffin.

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