What you need to know:
- His uncle, Kamau Mbugua, said John began vomiting profusely at the bar and efforts to save his life were futile. He did not make it to hospital.
- A post-mortem examination confirmed he was poisoned.
One Friday, John Mbugwa had hosted his friends to a birthday party at one of the popular entertainment joints on the Thika superhighway, having travelled from Syokimau, where he lived.
The group went to Maxland Bar and Lounge, on the third floor of Mountain Mall, for drinks believing that this would give a cheer to Mr Mbugwa, who was born on June 10, 1987.
Unknown to them, a party that they thought would usher in the 30th year in style for Mr Mbugwa, who worked part-time after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in international business management from Africa Nazarene University in 2014, marked his last day.
Mr Mbugwa’s drink was spiked, with the effects so dire he died at dawn.
His uncle, Kamau Mbugua, said John began vomiting profusely at the bar and efforts to save his life were futile. He did not make it to hospital.
“They had spent the whole night at the bar, taking alcohol to celebrate his birthday,” said Mr Mbugua, a lawyer, who has been pursuing the matter.
“His friends say he was fine all through but at around 6am, he began vomiting and the management called officers at the nearby Thome Police Post.”
When the police arrived, said Mr Mbugua, it took them time to persuade taxi operators to take Mr Mbugwa to Tumaini Uhai Hospital.
Mr Mbugwa’s friends, according to Mr Mbugua, said he was the last person to leave the bar as he had opted to spend the night there since he was travelling to Nakuru with other friends the following day.
Suspecting poisoning, the officers arrested two women who had seated near the deceased and were said to have at one point joined him at his table.
A post-mortem examination confirmed Mr Mbugwa had been poisoned.
“The pathologist’s report indicated that he had a white substance in his stomach that was stinking and samples were taken to the Government Chemist for analysis,” he said.
The police searched the two suspects and found them with a suspicious substance, which was seized and taken for analysis.
One of Mr Mbugwa's friends at the party said they too could have been drugged because, though they had left the club hours earlier, they slept way past noon the following day.
On Sunday, when Mr Mbugwa would have joined his nuclear family to continue the festivities, a sombre mood engulfed the sleepy Mutunguru Village in Gatundu South, Kiambu County.
John Kuria, an uncle of Mr Mbugwa, described him as a jovial, ever-smiling, obedient, disciplined and ambitious young man.
Gabriel Mwatha said his son's death was a case of a young soul gone too soon, and that his eulogy was only three paragraphs long. He prayed that justice would be done.
“Why did it happen to him? Why is it that he had to lose his life in a place where people are supposed to relax and be happy?” he asked.
Mr Mbugua said the family intends to pursue the matter to its logical conclusion in a bid to establish what substance was used to spike Mr Mbugwa's drink, where it was procured and who sells it.