Joan Jelimo, a hair stylist, had not seen her client, Rosalia Muchai, for three days even after they had agreed to meet to have her hair done.
Ms Jelimo tried to reach Rosalia to check out why she had not shown up at the salon in Mtaa wa Mbuzi in Likoni, Mombasa.
“I tried to reach her but calls to her phone were not going through and, on Tuesday, I decided to visit her home so that I could tell her I would not be available to make her hair that day,” said Ms Jelimo.
Rosalia, who had told Ms Jelimo that she was 25 years old, had been her client since October this year.
On reaching Rosalia’s house in Timbwani, Ms Jelimo found that her client had been sick for three days.
“She complained of abdominal pains and said she had been unable to relieve herself for three days. I found that she had thrown up and no one was there to attend to her,” she said.
Ms Jelimo decided to take her client-cum-friend to her house to look after her until she got better.
At her home, Ms Jelimo inquired what she was suffering from but Rosalia only said she had been having a stomachache.
“When I asked for her mother’s contacts, she was hesitant. After I insisted, she gave me her number and we telephoned her. I gave her the phone to speak to her mother so she could ask her to come for her. But she lied to her mother,” Ms Jelimo said.
Ms Jelimo said Rosalia told her mother that she was sick and a friend in Mwembe Tayari, Mombasa, was looking after her.
When Ms Jelimo realised that Rosalia was lying to her mother, she grabbed the phone and told the person on the other end that they were in Likoni. Ms Jelimo asked the mother to go and pick up her daughter.
“The following day (Wednesday) she was overwhelmed by the illness and I took her to Stella Maris Clinic where she was attended to but she was referred to Likoni District Hospital for further checks,” Ms Jelimo said.
At the hospital, Rosalia was reported dead a few minutes after her mother, Rehema Gati, had arrived.
Ms Jelimo, together with Ms Gati, proceeded to Likoni Police Station to report the matter.
It was then that the mother revealed that Rosalia was a 16-year-old girl who had escaped from home in August.
According to a police report seen by the Nation, Ms Gati said her daughter was a Form Two student at Jomvu Girls' Secondary School and went missing during the August holidays.
LIED ABOUT AGE
“I was shocked to learn that she was a minor as she had kept on lying to us that she was 25 and, because of her huge body, no one doubted it,” said Ms Jelimo, who revealed that Rosalia had asked her to tell her mother to forgive her for the wrongs she had done.
Likoni Police Commander Jane Munywoki said investigations have been launched following Rosalia's death.
Ms Munywoki said investigations will include establishing the real age of the girl whose body is lying at the Coast General Hospital mortuary.
“There were also reports that there was a man who was living with her. We are following all the leads before we come to any conclusion,” Ms Munywoki told the Nation on the phone.