Police probe 18-year-old’s mysterious death after stepdad’s caning

Faith Ngina, a former student of Mahiga Girls High School, was found dead

Faith Ngina, a former student of Mahiga Girls High School, was found dead at her parent's home in Mahiga Location on Thursday morning, April 18.

Photo credit: Family album

Police in Nyeri are investigating whether an 18-year-old girl who was allegedly beaten by her stepfather drank herself to death.

Faith Ngina, a former student of Mahiga Girls High School, was found dead at her parent's home in Mahiga Location on Thursday morning, April 18.

She had reportedly been beaten by her stepfather the previous night for having an illicit relationship.

According to Othaya Sub-County Police Commander Samuel Gitau, detectives have taken toxicology samples from Ngina's body, which are being analysed at a laboratory in Nairobi.

The tests will determine whether she had consumed any intoxicating substances before her death.

“There are issues arising from that require further investigation, in conjunction with results of the post-mortem examination,” said Mr Gitau.

These are expected to shed light on the circumstances surrounding Ngina's death - including evidence of physical injuries, underlying medical conditions, pregnancy and/or the possible presence of intoxicants in her system.

This comes after Ngina's mother, Christine Mukavi, revealed that her daughter had admitted to using illegal drugs during several confrontations with her in the past.

“She had told me that she was introduced to drugs by her boyfriend with whom she had a romantic relationship,” she told Nation.Africa at her home in Githiru village.

Ms Mukavi added that her daughter's behaviour had changed in the past month. "She had been behaving strangely and had run away from home three times in the past month without any remorse," said Ms Mukavi.

Interventions by family members

She added that interventions by family members and a local pastor had proved futile.

On the fateful night when Ngina was involved in a physical altercation with her father, she had been missing for a day.

“I had last seen her on Tuesday (April 16th) evening when I asked her to boil water for her two young siblings and bathe them,” said Ms Mukavi, after which she left to attend to her kiosk business.

She later returned home to find the children alone and unsupervised. The children claimed that Ngina had gone to fetch firewood to boil the water for their bath.

Ms Mukavi said the children were being bathed ahead of a planned trip to her mother's home in Makueni the following day.

Her husband went to look for Ngina the next day and they returned at 8pm that night.

Their return prompted a family meeting that escalated into a physical confrontation between father and daughter.

Tensions arose

During the meeting, she says, tensions arose over the girl's repeated behaviour of running away from home and living with her boyfriend.

“What angered my husband more was that he felt that there was something that our daughter was hiding from him but would not speak up,” says Ms Mukavi, adding that that was the point at which he beat up his stepdaughter with a coffee tree branch.

When Ms Mukavi went to bed, she said that the two of them (father and stepdaughter) were still having their meeting.

She decided to continue the journey the following day without her eldest daughter, to attend a family reunion at her mother's home.

“I left home Thursday 3am with the younger children, leaving Ngina asleep,” she explains.

But when she was just a few kilometres from her destination, she received phone calls calling her back.

Had not woken up

Her husband told her that her daughter had not woken up that morning.

“He said that he went to wake her up that morning so that she could help with opening my kiosk but she was unresponsive,” says Ms Mukavi.

A few hours later, her husband was arrested and detained at Othaya police station as a suspect in Ngina's death.

Last Friday, he was produced before the Senior Resident Magistrate Court in Othaya, where the court allowed the police to remand him in custody for 14 days while they carry out their investigations.

Ngina had scored a mean grade of B (plain) in last year's Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) national examinations and was due to enrol at university in September, Nation.Africa has learnt.

Her family had hoped she would pursue a career in the medical field.