Police, residents worried as gruesome murders rock Nyeri County

Nyeri murder victim Sylvia Wanjiru

A relative tends to the grave of four-year-old Sylvia Wanjiru, who was sexually abused and murdered at Chinga in Othaya, Nyeri County, last week. 

Photo credit: Nicholas Komu | Nation Media Group

Dylan Harrison Wachira (three) and Kian Georgeson Wachira (two) were laid to rest at their grandparents’ home in Kirichu, Nyeri County, on November 18 but the mystery surrounding their deaths is far from being solved.

Their suspected murders are the latest among children in the county, with six killed in separate incidents in just one month.

Police records indicate an increase in child murders in Nyeri, leaving security officials concerned. While the cases are isolated, they have an eerie similarity - the children are reported missing and days later their bodies are found dumped.

Detectives have made little progress in solving most of the cases. In the case of Dylan and Kian, it appears they have hit a dead end as their mother, who was the last to see them alive, has been hospitalised under psychiatric care.

The former beauty queen left their home in Kangemi, Nyeri Town, with the two children only to show up at a stranger’s doorstep a day later without them. A week later, their bodies were found in River Sagana at Wariruta in Mathira.

Postmortems conducted on Thursday showed they drowned, 10 hours apart, between November 1 and November 2, adding to the mystery of their deaths.

No strong leads

With an overwhelmed homicide department, detectives at Mathira West Sub-county Police Headquarters can only wait for a breakthrough since the forensic evidence they have collected so far has not yielded any good leads.

They are now relying on the help of a psychiatry specialist and Ms Eva Wangui’s recovery, with the hope she will give them a detailed account of what transpired.

Ms Wangui left her parents’ home with her children on November 1, reportedly for a walk. She is said to have left the house at around 3pm, saying she was going out to bask with the boys.

That was the last time Dylan and Kian were seen alive and their mother’s whereabouts were unknown until 5am on Monday.

Ms Wangui was found seated in the corridor of the house of a Maua resident, about 15 kilometres from her home. Her clothes were soaking wet and she appeared to be in a confused state.

Investigations have since shown that she had been trying to find her way to her parents' home in Gachika. She reportedly made stops at Thunguma and Githiru before she disappeared. 

She was last seen with her sons at Githiru at 8pm.

Police are still trying to piece together what happened between 8pm Sunday, when she was last seen with her children, and 5am Monday when she showed up at a stranger’s doorstep without them.

“What we do not understand is if the mother was involved. We have to be patient since she is hospitalised,” Mathira West Sub-county Police Commander Jane Nyacheruma told the Nation.

The case is likely to result in a court-ordered inquest due to the lack of a suspect and sufficient evidence to prosecute.

Painful death

In another similar case, police are probing the gruesome murder of a four-year-old girl in Chinga.

Sylvia Wanjiru went missing from her grandparents’ home on October 31.

Relatives say she had been playing outside with other children when she disappeared. Her body was found in River Chinga two weeks later.

The report of an autopsy carried out on Saturday reveals a painful death. The examination at Mukurwe-ini Sub-county Hospital mortuary shows she was sexually assaulted, beaten up and stabbed multiple times.

She suffered broken limbs and a skull as well as three stab wounds.

The report seen by the Nation says Sylvia died from “severe head, chest abdominal and genital injuries, secondary to sharp and blunt trauma.”

Similarly, detectives are yet to make substantive progress in the investigation.

“We have not yet arrested a suspect,” Nyeri South Police Commander Serah Koki said.

Still in Othaya, a Form Two girl who had been reported missing was found murdered at Kairuthi on Wednesday.

“The murders appear to be similar … the DCI has taken over the investigations. Locals are not cooperative in sharing information with police, making the investigation harder,” Ms Koki said.

As in the child’s case, no suspect has been apprehended in this one.

Sylvia was buried at her grandparents’ home in Chinga, Othaya, on Monday.

Triple homicide

In Karatina, police are holding two suspects linked to the killing of Mercy Gathoni, 35, her daughter Claire Wanjira and niece Faith Wanjiru on October 22.

Their bodies were found on a bed in a shop at Jambo, with ropes around the necks, suggesting they were strangled.

They died between 10am and 1pm.

Police reports indicate that the bodies were found in a room behind a grocery shop by Gathoni’s sister, Rahab Mugure, who had gone to look for her daughter.

Ms Mugure went searching as the daughter had stayed too long after being sent to check on her aunt.

It is believed the girl met the killer when she went to look for her cousin inside the room.

Mathira East Sub-county Police Commander James Barasa told the Nation that detectives have arrested two suspects.

While the motive remains unclear, police believe it was a case of a love triangle and that the killer was hired, with the two girls being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

“This is straight forward murder case. At the moment our officers are analysing forensic evidence,” Mr Barasa said.


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