At around 9pm on Monday, Jecinta Mukami was sleeping in her bedroom when her mother called to tell her that something was wrong with her 11-year-old daughter Felister Mukii.
The Grade Five pupil at Mwanyambo Primary School in Voi, Taita Taveta County, had locked herself in her bedroom and taken her own life by hanging.
"I broke the door and saw her hanging. My mother said we should cut the rope because she could still have been alive. I did but she was unresponsive," she narrated.
They tried to revive her but she was already dead.
"I could not believe that Felister had killed herself. I did not lose my child to sickness or an accident, I lost my child to suicide. How?" she said.
The mother of four said that on that fateful day, her daughter, her third-born child, passed by her food kiosk and ate chapati and beans. She went home and took a nap before she could do her homework.
Her grandmother is said to have woken her up to wash her school uniform. She later complained to her mother that she had pain in her stomach.
Her mother gave her Sh30 to buy yoghurt and she went to bed early because she needed to wake up at 4.30am to go to her kiosk.
She said her daughter had played card games while watching television but had refused to take a shower or eat supper.
"Unusually for her, she even refused to help in the kitchen. After supper, my mother realised she had locked herself in the room and she was not responding to her calls. When she peeped through a tiny hole she saw her hanging," she said.
As she sat at her home in Maweni Village, Ms Mukami was still absorbing the incident that she said seemed like a bad dream.
“Was I a bad mother? What did I do wrong? I always gave her my best. She always told me what she wanted,” she said.
The family said the daughter didn’t suffer from depression or show any signs that she had unresolved issues.
Felister’s death also stunned her classmates. They claimed that she had threatened to end her life that night, her mother said.
“Everybody at school was in shock. The teacher said some classmates had said that she had threatened to kill herself and even asked those she had wronged to forgive her. I don't know how true that is because at home she did not say anything," Ms Mukami said.
Ms Mukami described her daughter as a disciplined and responsible girl on whom she relied to take care of her younger siblings and cousins.
Prepare delicious meals
She said Felister would sometimes prepare delicious meals for her family and loved cooking.
"She also loved singing. She was my best friend. I don't know what made her take her life," she said.
She said her daughter excelled academically. She was rewarded for being the most punctual student in school.
Her aunt, Malicela Kaloki, described her niece as a joyful, fun-loving, active girl full of life.
"We are still in disbelief. This is a big blow to us. We are still asking God a lot of questions," she said.
Police in Voi are investigating the death and have recorded statements from the family.
Voi sub-county police Commander Bernastein Shari said a postmortem exam will reveal the cause of Felister’s death. "Investigations are ongoing but the postmortem will reveal whether she indeed took her own life or was murdered," he said.
He said cases of children dying by suicide were rare in the area.