The two-year-old boy who went missing on Saturday after a stranger in a bus made away with him has been reunited with his mother.
Baby Emmanuel Kizito had been under the custody of the Child Welfare Society at the Mama Ngina Children’s Home in South C since September 28, where he was taken by officers from Kasarani Police Station.
The disappearance of Emmanuel and her mother's plea were highlighted by the Nation on Wednesday.
The child, according to police records at the station, was taken to the station by two women, who claimed that the child had been left in a public service vehicle on the evening of Saturday, September 27.
According to the mother of the boy, Millicent Ayoo, who was overwhelmed with joy during the reunion, the boy disappeared after a vehicle they were travelling in sped off after she had alighted on Haile Selassie Avenue.
“I was travelling with my two children, Gillian and Emmanuel, from Ngong to Kayole for prayers at a relative’s house.
“When we boarded the bus, there was only one seat at the back. I took that seat. Two women were sitting on the double seats beside my seat.
“One of the women asked me to hand her one of my children so that she can help me carry him. She took Emmanuel.
“The bus was noisy as there was music playing, but I noticed that one of the women beside me received two or three phone calls. The woman next to me was identified as “Wambui” by the one next to the window
“I heard her tell the caller that she had just bailed out the woman she was with from a police cell. I found this conversation odd. The woman by the window had dyed her hair brown and looked unkempt. In fact, I think they smelt of miraa and alcohol.
“As we were about to alight, I asked her to hand me the child, but she asked me to alight so that she can hand the child back to me, to make my work easy. Immediately I had alighted, the vehicle sped off before the lady could hand over my baby,” she recounted.
The vehicle did not stop and Millicent and her seven-year-old daughter called out Emmanuel’s name.
“I cried like I have never done before. I thought my child had been stolen. The first fear I got was that my baby could be killed,” she said.
For the better part of the night, Ms Ayoo searched for her baby at the Ambassador Hotel, Kencom and Gill House bus stations in vain.
The single mother of two went to three police stations to report the disappearance of her only son, but by Sunday morning, she had not found him.
After her grievances were highlighted by the media, a woman called her and claimed to have seen her son in Kisumu.
“I think she only wanted money from me, because she was claiming that she could bring him to Nairobi if I sent her fare,” Ms Ayoo said.
On Wednesday morning, when the article about her appeared in the Nation, a police officer called the newsroom from the Kasarani Police Station, asking the newspaper to contact Ms Ayoo and ask her to go to the Child Welfare Society of Kenya, on Langata Road.
The centre has the mandate to reunite lost children with their parents. For the better part of the day, child protection officers interrogated Ms Ayoo, just to be sure that she was Emmanuel’s real mother.
“Here, we interrogate the mother, study her psychology and determine whether she lost the baby through negligence.
“We also offer psychological counselling so that she can recover from what she has gone through and help her prevent a repeat,” an official at the centre, Felistus Mwikali, said. They then went to the Mama Ngina Children’s Home where Emmanuel and other children were kept.
At 6.20pm, mother and son were reunited.
Emmanuel was eager to return home, and asked his mother countless questions about his sibling Gillian.
Officers at the children’s home also presented the family with gifts and then took them home.
“Today, I cried tears of joy. I will manage a smile. I will eat. I have not been able to sleep since my child disappeared,” a beaming and delighted Ms Ayoo said as they left the home.