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Family of baby who died after being scalded by hot tea crying for justice

A 21-month-old baby who succumbed to injuries she reportedly sustained after being scalded by hot tea while under the care of a house help in Dandora was laid to rest on Thursday.

And as baby Natalia Zoe was being laid to rest at Lang’ata Cemetery in Nairobi, the family was not only grieving the loss of their child, but also crying out for justice.

Natalia’s mother, Ann Wanja, said the police are yet to commence investigating the incident although she reported the matter at Kariobangi police post under OB57/16/5/2022.

On the fateful day, Ms Wanja says she left her baby under the care of her domestic helper, who has been working for her since February, only to receive a phone call from her saying she should go to Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital.

A portrait of baby Natalia Zoe Akinyi on top of her coffin during the burial at Langata Cemetery on May 26, 2022. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

“I was on my way home when she called me and informed me that there was an incident and my daughter had been rushed to Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital and that I should go straight there,” said a tearful Wanja.

Apparently, it is the domestic worker’s mother who took the child to Mama Lucy Hospital because the incident happened at her house.

“The house help took my daughter with her when she went to visit her mother, who lives in Korogocho, and that is where the incident happened,” she said.

“When asked what happened, the house help said that after boiling the tea, she went out to get a jug to pour it into and when she came back, she found that her nephew, who is five, had pushed the girl into the sufuria.”

Erick Ayiecko (right) with his wife Ann Wanja during the burial of their daughter baby Natalia Zoe Akinyi at the Langata Cemetery on May 26, 2022. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

She said that their explanation did not add up as the boy, when asked what had happened, denied he claims, saying at the time he had been a a neighbour’s house watching TV.

At Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital, doctors referred the baby to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) for specialised treatment.

Wanja says doctors at KNH told her that the burns were inconsistent with what the mother of the domestic helper has said.

The postmortem report showed that the girl had 46-degree burns when she succumbed to the injuries a week after the incident.

Ann Wanja (kneeling down in white dress) breaks down at the graveside of her 21-month-old baby Natalia Zoe Akinyi during the burial at Langata Cemetery in Nairobi on May 26, 2022. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

But prior to that, the grieving mother says police officers in Kariobangi had refused to issue them with a letter authorising the hospital to carry out a postmortem exam. It took the intervention of a police officer stationed at KNH for the family to get the letter.

“The police asked us to drop the matter, saying it was a normal incident and that the child had already passed on,” Ms Wanja said.

The Kariobangi police is yet to visit the scene of the incident or questioned the domestic helper and her mother.

Ms Wanja is now accusing the police of attempting to cover up the incident.