When the decomposing bodies of two children were found in a car parked at the Athi River Police Station on Wednesday, a million questions were raised about the scene.
How did it happen, right inside a police station? Were any officers involved? Now, detectives suspect the children were ‘murdered’ elsewhere, before their bodies were moved to the station. But who had the courage to move them to such a place? That is the hard question.
They were found by a man who had gone to the station to collect his vehicle. “The children were reported missing on June 11 and we have been searching for them since then,” Athi River police boss Catherine Ringera said on Wednesday.
Alvina Mutheu and Henry Jacktone, aged three and four, were jolly good friends. They were last seen on June 11 in their neighbourhood near the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) in Machakos County.
According to her mother, Catherine Munyiva, Alvina had been called by her father, Stephen Mulinge, to the ground floor of their apartment. He had brought his daughter a fruit, water melon.
Instead of returning home, Alvina — who was dressed in a purple sweater, a purple pair of trousers and orange boots — joined Jacktone in the neighbourhood.
They were part of a group of people who were watching a tractor that was digging trenches near their home before they suddenly disappeared. Until Wednesday evening.
Detectives from the Homicide Department of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) are now trying to find out how the bodies got to the station.
The difficult question, however, is who killed Alvina and Jacktone and why? Jacktone’s father, Cliftone Odhiambo, is a casual labourer at a ceramics factory, while Alvina’s dad, Stephen Mulinge, sells water for a living.
“Police called us and said that some bodies had been found. They told us to report to the station immediately,” said Mr Odhiambo.
What shocked the parents is that the bodies had been in the same station they had reported to when the children disappeared.
It’s still not clear how long the bodies had been there, and why the police were unaware of their presence until the vehicle they were in came to be collected by its owner.
The gray Toyota Belta, plate number KCT 510X and registered under Peris Ngugi, was involved in an accident on March 4. The damaged car was in May moved from its original location to create space for other vehicles.
“When that vehicle was involved in an accident, it was in bad shape. The owner could not drive it from the scene, so it was towed to the station. We inspected it and, other than the spare wheel and the wheel jack, there was nothing else in the car,” Ms Ringera said.
However, she could not term the incident as murder. “We are leaving it to the homicide detectives to tell us,” said added.
But whether it is a murder or not, the police boss will be hard pressed to explain how two bodies ended up inside her station.
Normally, when cars are towed to a station, the police take possession of the keys which are kept in a store and are only released when the vehicle has been officially released.
The families of the two children are suspecting foul play. Mr Odhiambo, 26, told the Nation the family had been thrown into mourning after losing their first born son Jacktone.
“The bodies were fully decomposed. We could only identify the clothes. We fail to understand how the bodies ended in a vehicle parked at the police station,” he said, adding that he did not have known enemies.
In the same building, Mr Mulinge, 35, who was being consoled by neighbours when the Nation visited their home, said the deaths have left them with endless questions.
“My daughter and my neighbour’s son must have been abducted by a person known to them. We have been receiving calls from two different mobile numbers demanding money to release them,” said Mr Mulinge.
By the time of going to press, detectives were yet to take fresh statements from the two families.