What you need to know:
- Ms Catherine Sarange was reportedly killed in a suspected land dispute in Kisii County three years ago.
- Her family has refused to bury her because they believe, doing so before justice is done will amount to subjecting the slain mother of five into more injustice.
- Her body has been lying at the Kisii Hospital mortuary since June 2017.
- Further hearing of the case has been scheduled for October 12, 2020.
It has been three years since Ms Catherine Sarange was reportedly killed in a suspected land dispute in Kisii County.
Ms Sarange’s family has refused to bury her because they believe, doing so before justice is done over her brutal execution will amount to subjecting the slain mother of five into more injustice.
Her body has been lying at the Kisii Hospital mortuary since June 2017.
However, her family feels that justice has been slow, even before Covid-19 paralysed operations at the Kisii High Court.
The hearing of Sarange’s case is almost at its conclusion. However, the mystery surrounding her slaying in an apparently well-planned and executed gangland style, and police reluctance to commence investigations until the Nation exposed the crime, confounds many.
Lust for land
The killing of Sarange exposes the extent to which greed for land in Kisii can drive grabbers to engage in crimes of sacrilege in their quest to satisfy their insatiable lust for more land in a community staring at population explosion.
During the hearing of the case last month, Sarange’s mother, Ms Teresa Kemunto Samuel, tearfully narrated a chilling account about how her daughter’s killers abducted and later killed her in a gruesome manner after she allegedly refused to sell her family land to a tycoon.
Ms Kemunto told a pensive court that she had been called to identify a headless body, which turned out to be her daughter who had gone missing from her home on June 2, 2017.
“It is three years since my daughter was killed. She has not been buried yet. I was taken to the place where her body was found. She was lying down there. Yes, I saw the body, it was decomposing,” she told Kisii High Court Judge Roseline Ougo.
She told the court that her daughter’s head was found a day after her decomposing torso had been pulled out of a manhole where her killers had hidden it.
“I saw her legs and clothes and there was a net tied around her stomach. She had no head on her body as the killers had cut it off,” she said.
Ms Kemunto told the court about the procedures that police used to determine her blood relationship with the deceased.
“They took my nails as samples. They took me to Kisumu twice in their efforts to make sure that I was the mother to Catherine,” said Kemunto, amid sobs, punctuated with torrents of tears.
Ms Kemunto told the court that on the day her daughter went missing, she found a man at her homestead and her grandchild informed her that he was burning Catherine’s clothes.
She further said she asked the man why he was in the homestead when the owners were away.
He told me he was waiting for Catherine to pay him for the work he had done. The man used to work for Catherine.
“When I returned to the place, I found police officers. They had arrested the man,” said Ms Kemunto adding that the man was not among the four suspects in court.
Last week, the court heard from a witness statement recorded by a pathologist who identified himself as Benjamin.
The pathologist from Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital said Ms Sarange’s body was decomposing at the time he operated it to determine the cause of death.
Quest for justice
He said given the state of the body, he could not establish the cause of death, but they removed samples for identification through a DNA analysis.
The Nation has learnt that police released the man later in unclear circumstances. He went into hiding shortly after.
The family claims that police have been frustrating their quest for justice. The officers were not willing to assist the family unravel the mystery behind the killing until the Nation highlighted the case two years ago.
Joseph Odicho Adogo, Evans Nyoka Ongeri, Ronald Ogwangi Ondieki and Lameck Rioba Sakawa were arraigned in court as suspects.
The prosecution informed the court that it has one more witness left to testify before closing its case, which has left relatives of the victim hiding for the past three years for fear of being targeted by Sarange’s killers.
The investigation officer in this case is the only person yet to witness in court.
Further hearing of the case has been scheduled for October 12, 2020.