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Search for woman’s body goes to Murang’a

By STELLA CHERONO February 28th, 2014 2 min read

Police are hunting for a man who allegedly forged documents and took the body of a city tycoon’s wife from Mater Hospital mortuary.

Police have also sent a team of detectives to a field in Murang’a where the body of Mrs Gladys Rahunga Ritho, the wife of Samuel Kanongo Ritho is believed to have been secretly buried.

Bribery claims

Makadara DCIO, Zack Nanguli, said if it was confirmed that Mrs Ritho was buried in Murang’a, police would have to obtain a court order to exhume her body.

The said body snatcher, only identified as Geoffrey, paid the mortuary fee in full. Police suspect he then took the body to Murang’a.

Yesterday, Mater Hospital came out to defend its decision to release the body, saying the man had produced all relevant documents, including a burial permit.

“On Friday February 21, Geoffrey Avugwi Ritho, the dead woman’s son, presented to the hospital the necessary documents, including a duly signed burial permit No 1315031. The body was released after the hospital verified the documents following consultations with its legal advisers,” said the hospital’s CEO, Dr John Muriithi.

The hospital denied its staff had been bribed to release the body.

“We categorically deny that any bribery or inducement was made to of our staff for the release of Mrs Ritho’s body. Indeed, the staff were never arrested,” he added.

Police yesterday said the death certificate and burial permit used to have the body released could have been forged. Mr Avugwi is a surgeon in London, United Kingdom.

“We are also looking for the body since we are not sure where it was taken. Tracing Mr Avugwi has been difficult for he is believed to have been living in the UK,” said Mr Nanguli.

One of Mrs Ritho’s daughters, Elizabeth Muthoni filed a complaint at the Industrial Area Police Station concerning the disappearance of the body. She said she was the only one in custody of the legal documents relating to her mother.

Police have recorded statements from several hospital employees. Among those questioned are Dr James Kereri, a nurse Sato Jennifer and the mortuary attendant, Joseph Otieno.

The woman’s body had been at the mortuary for five months because of a family dispute over control of property valued at billions of shillings.

Mater Hospital’s legal officer, Caroline Mwaura said in spite of the body being there that long, there was no court order to stop its release from the hospital.