Autopsy of Mariam Kighenda and daughter’s bodies scheduled as probe begins

Monday, October 14th, 2019 11:57 | By

An investigations team begins the full probe into the Likoni channel ferry tragedy on Monday, with a postmortem on the bodies of Mariam Kighenda and her daughter Amanda Mutheu at the Coast General Hospital.

A special team of detectives is set to oversee the exercise to be conducted by a government pathologist. 

The detectives are also expected to establish under what circumstances the vehicle rolled off the ferry and plunged into the ocean, killing mother and daughter.

By Sunday, the family had not started burial preparations because the government was yet to release the bodies.

The two bodies are preserved at the Jocham Hospital mortuary and are expected to be released to the family after Monday's autopsy.

Burial plans

“We are yet to begin preparations because the bodies are still held by the government. Once released to us, we will inform you about the burial plans. But for now, we are waiting to hear from the government,” said John Wambua, widower of Kighenda and Amanda’s father.

The two are expected to be buried in Salama, Makueni county.

Family and friends on Sunday continued to visit their Tudor home to condole with the family. 

Family members said they were satisfied with the efforts of the government to retrieve the bodies of the duo from the seabed of the Indian Ocean.

In an earlier interview, Wambua recalled how his wife called to notify him that they were about to cross the Likoni ferry channel shortly before he bumped into the breaking news of the incident on social media at around 6.00pm on the fateful Sunday evening.

“She had visited our farm in Kwale to run some errands and I was expecting her back on Sunday just as we had agreed. Shortly after 6.00pm, she called to tell me that she was on her way and in fact she was about to cross. But at around 6.40pm, news broke about a Likoni ferry mishap in which a vehicle had plunged into the ocean. I was shocked and immediately tried to call my wife but I couldn’t reach her,” said Wambua.

Worst news

Minutes afterwards, Wambua recalled another Whatsapp message from Kenya Ferry Services confirmed that the ill-fated vehicle was “Toyota ISIS registration number KCB 289C” which he knew his wife and daughter were riding.

Wambua then left his house in Tudor to Likoni where he confirmed the worst. 

He is left with a son who had not joined his mother and sister on the Kwale trip.

Government spokesman Cyrus Oguna said forensic investigations will be done beginning today. 

When the vehicle was retrieved, pictures were taken by detectives for a very comprehensive analysis.

“We could not do any investigations when the vehicle was inside the ocean. But full investigations will be carried out now,” said Oguna on Saturday.

The car plunged into the ocean after it slid off the MV Harambee ferry at the Likoni crossing channel on September 29.

It was retrieved after 13 days of difficult search by a multi-agency team.

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