US authorities exhume body of Kenyan woman who died mysteriously

Dorothy Bosibori Ong’era

The late Dorothy Bosibori Ong’era and her partner Obadiah Kinara.

Photo credit: Pool

The body of Dorothy Ong’era, a US-based Kenyan mother of six who died under mysterious circumstances, has been exhumed to facilitate a fresh post-mortem.

The exhumation follows a court battle between her family and boyfriend Obadiah Kinara that lasted almost a year. 

The order to exhume was granted by a Texas court where her family filed a suit demanding a second post-mortem.

She had been buried without the knowledge of her blood relatives, who also live in Texas.  

On December 17, Mr Kinara, who was living with Dorothy, reported her death to her family. He said in a report made at Kennedale police station that she drowned in the bathtub. However, none of her relatives saw her body.

An initial post-mortem exam established the cause of the death to be accidental drowning.

But later, her family rushed to court and Texas probate Judge Brooke Allen declared her father, Mr David Ong’era, the bona fide next of kin to handle the body after exhumation ahead of an autopsy later this week.

Mr Ong’era said that American forensic experts will review the body, after which they will conduct a fresh burial for Dorothy, who died on December 17, 2020.

“We are crossing our fingers to know the truth behind the sudden death of our daughter,” he said.

At the same time, Judge Allen ordered Mr Obadiah Kinara, who had strongly resisted the exhumation of Dorothy's body, to pay $39,700 (Sh4.3 million) as costs of the litigation.

The judge also dismissed an application from Mr Kinara who wanted the hearing postponed without providing any convincing reasons.

Judge Allen said Mr Kinara, who did not appear in court and was not represented, did not provide valid reasons to warrant any further delay of the case.

Mr Kinara's absence at the hearing gave Dorothy’s father an opportunity to formally prove his case without opposition.

During the hearing, the deceased’s Kenya-based husband, Dennis Mose, testified from Nakuru via Zoom and informed the court that he was legally married to Dorothy with three children before she relocated to the US.

Mr Mose denied claims by Mr Kinara that he and Dorothy had divorced in Kenya. He told the court that his relationship with Dorothy remained that of a married couple in accordance with Gusii customary laws of marriage, even after she cohabited with Mr Kinara.