When neighbours stumbled on Murunga in an unfinished house next to his parents’ home, he lay limp on the cold floor with visible injuries on his neck and stomach.
His insides were popping out of his belly and there was a gashing wound on the neck.
Neighbours said that as they searched for the missing boy, they heard a faint moan from the building and went in to investigate.
As they drew close, they stumbled on a kitchen knife left by Malik’s attackers. There was no trace of blood at the scene.
Murunga’s mother, Ms Miriam Kaluki, said he was limp and died as he was being taken to hospital.
“We don’t know what could have happened to him and suspect he may have been lured and killed elsewhere before he was dumped in the building,” Ms Kaluki said.
Officially, seven-year-old Malik Wamukoya Murunga’s killing brings to 21 the number of victims who have died at the hands of a gang that has terrorised Matungu residents in Kakamega in the past two months.
Despite the huge presence of General Service Unit (GSU) officers, the faceless attackers appear to be exploiting lapses in the ongoing patrols to raid homes.
Residents say the operation is shoddy, complaining that police officers in vehicles patrol main roads instead of going into villages on foot.
The parents of Murunga, who was killed on Sunday evening, are still in shock.
Murunga was a Grade One pupil at Bulimbo Star Academy. His parents are reported to have gone for prayers at the mosque when he was killed.
On Tuesday, Malik’s mother was in tears as she narrated her last conversation with the boy, who was killed on the day he should have been celebrating his birthday.
“On the eve of the attack, my son had told me that he was not scared of death since he was at peace with God,” Ms Kaluki said.
As she walked back home from the mosque the following day, she found a crowd at her compound.
Ms Kaluki rushed to find out what was happening and stumbled on her badly injured son. She described her son as talkative, bright, obedient and hardworking.
Two men were arraigned for the murder in a Kakamega court Tuesday.
Mr Fredirick Shitechi, alias Abdallah Mucheva, and Mr Anerico Jimmy did not take plea as the prosecution asked the court to grant it 14 days to finalise investigations.
According to an affidavit by Constable Alex Njoroge, a post-mortem had not been conducted on the body. He added that the accused are also supposed to undergo a mental assessment.
The accused were represented by Mr James Wamatsi, who asked the court to release his clients on bond, arguing that there was no compelling reason to detain them.
The prosecution opposed his application, saying the case is of national concern. It added that the two would assist in the investigations.
The court ordered the pair to be remanded at Kakamega Police Station.
They were arrested in Mumias town and Matungu on Monday. The case will be mentioned on June 5.
When the Nation team visited the home, the family was preparing to bury Murunga.
In Matungu, security officers insist they have intensified patrols and are on the lookout for members of the killer gang.
Village elders and Nyumba Kumi officials have complained of being excluded from the operation.
“GSU officers don’t know this area and can’t be trusted to contain insecurity. In fact, they’re scaring away people willing to provide crucial information,” Mr Kassim Namatsi, a Makunda Village resident, said.
MPs Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East) Justus Murunga (Matungu) and Tindi Mwale (Butere) have urged the government to improve its intelligence “and stop working on rumours”.
"Why can't the government send intelligence teams on the ground to help gather information on the killings? Why are people still dying when Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai said there would be no more deaths?” Mr Washiali posed.
Area resident Dorcas Ongeso said officers conducting the operation should be withdrawn at once.
They’re scaring people from going about their business, she said of the GSU officers, adding, they were harassing the innocent.
Matungu MP Justus Murunga asked police officers to rely on intelligence reports to track down the killers.
“The government should bring officers who can easily interact with locals to gather information on activities of the gangs,” he said.
Kakamega Woman Rep Elsie Muhanda has urged the county government to deploy a team of counsellors to the constituency to help victims' families cope.