Family in agony as woman’s body goes missing from Nanyuki mortuary


The body of a woman has gone missing from a mortuary in Nanyuki, days after her relatives took it there.

Relatives of Savelliah Karea Henry were given the wrong body when they went to collect her for burial.

They, however, declined to take it.

They have now buried a banana tree in the grave they had prepared to bury their loved one.

“Our culture demands that something be put in the grave to dispel curses resulting from us not burying our loved one before sunset,” said Ms Francesca Mutua, the deceased’s daughter.

The hospital said the problem could be one of mistaken identity.


Two mortuary attendants are on spot after releasing the body of a woman to the wrong family and insisting that the relatives must bury it in Nanyuki on Saturday.

For two weeks, the family of the late Savelliah had been mourning and making arrangements to bury her in Kiambogo, Meru County before the nightmare befell them on the day they were to lay their mother to rest.

The mortuary attendant on duty identified by the family only as Munyaka told them he would dress the body for them and they obliged thinking he was acting out of kindness.

He, however, frustrated their attempts to view the body.

Too much formalin had been sprayed on the viewing bay thus making the mourners teary, choky and unable to properly view the body as the attendant gave them only two minutes to view the body.

“The discomfort caused by the formalin made most of us unable to view it.

“However, the few who did came out saying that the body was not Karea’s,” said Mary Mbae, a neighbour and a close friend of the family.


Upon further scrutiny, it became clear that they were being given the wrong body.

“The body presented to us had features that did not match those of my mother’s,” said Ms Mutua.

Her reservations were however dismissed by the attendant.

“My mother was light skinned but this woman was dark.

“Mr Munyaka tried to convince us that bodies change due to the chemicals they are treated with in the mortuary but I was not convinced.

“I looked at the body further only to realise that the ears were pierced but my mum’s were not,” noted Ms Mutua.

Following the incident, the family did their own investigations and found out that the body they were being given was brought to the mortuary from Huruma Hospital where the doctor in-charge later identified it as that of Stella Nkuene David.

Nanyuki Deputy Officer Commanding Police Station, David Kipkoech confirmed that the matter was an issue of mistaken identity.

“Two families had picked their bodies before the family in question picked theirs at the mortuary last Saturday.

“We got in touch with one of the two families who viewed the body in contention and identified it as theirs. Indeed they had buried the wrong body,” said Mr Kipkoech.

Police said that Nkuene’s family would issue an apology to Karea’s family and make the necessary arrangements to resolve the matter.

Nanyuki Teaching and Referral Hospital’s medical superintendent Dr Sammy Kilonzo said the hospital was not to blame for the situation, terming it as an issue of mistaken identity.