What you need to know:
- Ms Nyanchama suspects a woman to whom she had rented a kiosk for Sh400 a month had stolen the baby.
- On the day her child went missing, Ms Nyanchama had left the suspected child thief at the kiosk.
It is about noon on a chilly Thursday in Kisii. It is the third day after Grace Nyanchama’s three-month-old baby, Joshua Ongeri, went missing.
Ms Nyanchama, 28, and her husband Godfrey Somoni have spent the last three days at Nyanchwa Police Station, hoping to get news from detectives that their third-born child has been found.
But they return home in the evening dejected, confused, traumatised and just not knowing what is next for them after the loss of their child.
Baby Ongeri went missing on Tuesday evening as his mother was fetching water from a nearby spring.
"On Tuesday, my son was crying a lot and I had to babysit him the whole day. Luckily, he slept late in the evening. By this time, my other two children had come from school,” recalled Ms Nyanchama at her Nyankongo home in Kitutu Central, Kisii County.
“I then realised it was getting late and we did not have enough water in the house. I left the sleeping child under the care of his siblings and rushed to the river," she further narrated.
Ms Nyanchama said she had left the baby under the care of her sons, aged 12 and seven. The 12-year-old is in Standard Seven.
Her husband, a carpenter, was away.
Suspected child thief
Ms Nyanchama suspects a woman to whom she had rented a kiosk for Sh400 a month had stolen the baby.
“The woman, known as Ruth, had approached me a month ago and requested that I rent my kiosk to her. I agreed because I was still nursing my newborn baby. I told her I would return to the kiosk after six months,” she said.
On the day her child went missing, she had left the suspected child thief at the kiosk.
Ms Nyanchama says she took time at the river because there was a long queue.
On coming back, she found her second-born son, who is in Standard Three, by the roadside and asked him how their baby was doing.
“I was shocked when he told me that the baby was not there. I went berserk for some time, undressed and ran along the road naked. I could not believe that my son was missing,” she said.
Later, she went to her house to confirm if her baby was indeed missing as she had been told by her son.
Suspect went into hiding
“I searched, but my little baby was nowhere to be seen. He is still missing and I just do not know what to do or say,” said Ms Nyanchama, who looks frail out of shock and despair.
“My elder son told me that he was playing outside with other children when the suspected child thief entered the house,” she said.
“He did not bother to check on the woman, probably because he did not suspect any foul play. His other brother was by the roadside, keeping an eye on the woman’s kiosk as instructed by her.”
The two boys told the Nation that they realised later that the woman had left with the baby.
“I later learnt that the woman boarded a motorbike with the child in her arms,” said Ms Nyanchama, noting that on checking the woman at her rented house, which is nearby, she was informed that she had moved to a new location the previous day.
They then reported their missing child at the Nyanchwa Police Station. Police have been trying to track down the woman.
Kisii County Police Commander Francis Kooli said they were investigating the case.
“We do not want to reveal a lot of details as of now. But we are investigating the case,” he said.