Mystery of slain sleuth in morgue for six months

Friday, March 18th, 2022 00:38 | By
Crime scene tape. PHOTO/Courtesy

A body that has been lying at Yala Sub-county hospital mortuary for six months has been positively identified as that of former Kenya Wildlife Service intelligence officer Francis Isaac Awuor Oyaro, 45, who went missing on August 28 last year. 

Oyaro was kidnapped by people believed to be security officers at Naro Moru on his way from Marsabit to Nakuru to visit his family. Yesterday, the mortuary released the body to Oyaro’s family for burial following a positive match of the DNA results. The body was among 21 that were retrieved from River Yala. 

Samples had earlier been taken from his mother, Tabitha Oyaro, in Kisumu that matched those of the deceased. 

The family’s eldest son, Paul Okere, said they were notified by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters to go for the results. 

“My twin sister went and was given the results that indicated the remains were indeed our brother’s. We will collect the body and plan the burial,” Okere said. 

The hospital’s superintendent, Dr Bruno Okall, said the DCI had directed them to release the body only after the DNA tests matched, adding that the body was released according to laid-down procedures.  Oyaro was picked in broad daylight by people who identified themselves to the driver. Being an officer of a State security organ, the probe should have been expedited.  

But for almost six months the body lay at a morgue just 60km from his rural home in Maramba village, Uyoma, in Siaya county, a sign that detectives were either reluctant to investigate the case or were complacent.

On that fateful day, Oyaro hiked a lift on a KWS vehicle from Marsabit and was with two other female colleagues. Eyewitnesses told the family that a public service vehicle they were later traveling in was flagged down near Naro Moru, Nyeri county, by people who appeared to know Oyaro.  They removed him from the matatu, pushed him into a black saloon car and drove away.  

On failing to trace him, the family printed and circulated posters bearing his name and photograph. A man who claimed to have been in the same matatu with him then informed the family that the officer boarded the vehicle at Nanyuki and, on reaching Naro Moru, they were flagged down by two people who identified themselves as security officers. 

“They even went ahead and showed the driver their identification cards,” the witness said. “They then checked inside the matatu and ordered Oyaro to alight after picking up his bag. Then they drove away.”  

From the conversation, it was clear they knew each other and Oyaro even asked them why they were following him yet they were together the previous day, according to a source. The wife ,Veronicah Osore, last spoke to Oyaro on August 28 last year when he was on his way to Nakuru from his work-station at Marsabit National Park. 

At around 1pm, he called to inform her that they were approaching Nanyuki. He expected to be in Nakuru at around 6pm, but that never happened.

An inquiry by his immediate bosses revealed that he had asked for a few days off and was expected back on September 6.

Oyaro joins a list of Kenyans who have been abducted and their bodies later found dumped in the same river in Siaya county. 

Alarm was raised following an increased number of bodies retrieved from River Yala. According to Haki Africa, 67 people disappeared last year and eight since the beginning of this year. A number of bodies were  retrieved from the river, with local diver Okero Okite saying he had retrieved 34 bodies from the river during this period.

The police service immediately denied the reports and instead said only 19 bodies had been retrieved from the river, before adjusting the number to 23. By the end of last month, some 96 families had presented DNA samples in the hope of finding the remains of their loved ones.

Some of the bodies that have been positively identified are of George Abong’o, Eric Omeno, Margarete Atieno, Titus Lisutha, Philip Chepkuony, Peter Mutuku Kioo and Erastus Ndirangu. 

Omeno was an interior designer while his friend Abong’o was well known in Kisumu social circles. He was flamboyant, splashed money on expensive drinks at night clubs, and usually drove a black Toyota Crown. 

Those who knew Abong’o said he was usually with well-known fraudsters at a bar within Lolwe estate and had several run-ins with the law. 

Philemon Cheruiyot Chepkuony and Peter Mutuku Kioo were last seen on December 3 leaving Nairobi for Nakuru, together with Edwin Kamande who had offered to drive them in a white Toyota Hiace, registration number KAT 390M. 

Chepkuony ran an electronics shop and a wines and spirits outlet at Pipeline in Nairobi, while Kioo operated a matatu in Dandora where he had been staying after relocating from Mombasa. The car they were last seen in was found dumped in Gilgil and their bodies at Yala, 350km away. 

Kioo was a police constable based in Mombasa but was interdicted in 2015 after being arrested several times for armed robbery. 

Chepkuony was a General Service Unit officer based in Nairobi.

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