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Tough questions: Who placed the bodies in the car boot? How did they access the station unnoticed and with what motive?
Bodies of two children reported missing 10 days ago were on Tuesday recovered from the boot of a car parked at a Machakos police station where they had been reported as missing. The girl and the boy both aged four years went missing from their KMC Estate on June 11 while playing outside their house.
Officers in Athi-River Police Station where the matter was reported on the same day had been searching for the children. The parents had also been conducting a search, including visiting hospitals and mortuaries until Tuesday afternoon when fresh clues emerged right under the nose of the police.
A Nairobi salesman who had gone to the station on Tuesday to pick his detained car informed the officers that there was foul smell from the boot of his Toyota Belta. The vehicle had been lying at the station for over three months after it was involved in an accident on Mombasa Road on March 4.
It is after he opened the boot of his car that he noted the strange ‘cargo’ covered in a black paper bag. The officers then opened the bag and found the two bodies.
Said an investigating officer familiar with the matter: “When the owner came to pick the car, he realised that there was a strange cargo in the boot of the car, which was wrapped in a black paper bag”.
Yesterday, government pathologists were called to the scene to help DCI with the investigations.
Investigators from the DCI Homicide Unit based at the DCI headquarters yesterday took over the investigations.
Parents of the children were also summoned to the police station to confirm that the bodies were those of their loved ones, Alvina Mutheu and Henry Jacktone.
Mutheu and Jacktone, who have been described as ‘best friends’, also happened to have been in the same school and sat next to each other in class. They were both the first born in their families.
The pathologists and DCI officers could not immediately establish whether there were any visible injuries on the bodies. There was also no blood stains either on the minors’ clothes or in the vehicle.
Investigators said the bodies were decomposing and could have been inside the car for well over a week. Strangely no one at the police station had complained of foul smell at the busy parking yard.
Traffic police use the yard to park vehicles that have been detained or those involved in accidents. Civilians and police officers also use the same grounds to park their vehicles.
A traffic police officer, who on May 1 was tasked to move the vehicle from where it was initially parked, had since recorded statements with the DCI. In his statement, the officer said there was no foul smell from the vehicle when he moved it to create more space for other vehicles.
He said the boot of the car and all the doors were firmly locked.
What has baffled the investigators is how the two children may have ended up in the boot of the car, which was already in hands of the police at the time they were reported missing.
The police station
How did the killer access the vehicle inside the police station and what was the motive?
These are some of the critical questions that the investigations team will be seeking to answer in the next one week when they are expected to present a preliminary report to DCI boss George Kinoti.
An investigator had said the police were following two theories that would help them solve the murder mystery. First is the possibility that the children could have been killed and their bodies sneaked into the car inside the police station.
They will also be looking into the possibility that the minors could have strayed from their homes into the police station and while playing at the yard, locked themselves in the vehicle where they suffocated.
Some investigators have, however, said the second line of argument is weak and should be dropped.
The police station is about two kilometres from the estate where the children are reported to have gone missing.