Mystery surrounds the fate of a Kenyan woman who flew out of Nairobi last year to live with a Canadian man she met online.
Some friends and relatives, who spoke in confidence, say the last they heard of Ms Celine Awuor Kosi, 29, was that she had travelled with the man from the Canadian province of Quebec to the Caribbean island of Barbados on holiday in April before it was reported that she had died.
But while police in Barbados and the Canadian government confirmed to the Sunday Nation that Ms Kosi had died, her father declined to comment and her mother initially refused to discuss the matter with our reporter in Katito, Kisumu County, before curtly saying that her daughter is still alive and there was just a “misunderstanding”.
But several friends and relatives of Ms Kosi say the family has refused to discuss the matter since April and there have been no reports of a funeral or news on her whereabouts.
But Senior Sergeant Roland Cobbler, a public relations officer at the Royal Barbados Police Force, confirmed they had recorded the death and investigations were ongoing with her husband (name withheld) as a suspect.
The two are said to have met on social media while Ms Kosi was living in Nairobi.
“I can confirm that police are continuing investigations into the unnatural death of Celine Awuor Kosi, 29 years, from Quebec, Canada, and a Kenyan national,” he said.
He added: “On April 13, 2016, Ms Kosi was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (in Barbados) suffering from a head injury. She was pronounced dead on arrival. At the time she was vacationing in Barbados accompanied by her Canadian-born husband. Since then, her body has been handed over to her sister for burial overseas.”
CAUSE OF DEATH
It is not clear where the body was taken after it was handed over by the police in Barbados. Our numerous calls to her sister, who the police said they had given the body, were not answered. The police in the Caribbean island also added that the postmortem did not reveal much.
“An autopsy was conducted to determine the cause of death. However, this was inconclusive,” Mr Cobbler said, adding that the deceased’s husband had recorded a statement as a suspect but no arrests had been made.
The Canadian global affairs department also confirmed to the Sunday Nation that it had recorded the death.
“We are aware of the death of a permanent resident of Canada in Barbados. Consular assistance was provided to the individual’s family. Due to privacy considerations, no further details will be released,” said Ms Jocelyn Sweet, the media relations spokesperson of the department.
Friends and relatives of Ms Kosi who spoke to us alleged a plot by close family members to keep the death unreported for unknown reasons.
We could not independently verify this as Ms Kosi’s parents and sister did not respond to our inquiries – apart from the mother’s brief answer.
Neighbours at the family’s home in Kisumu said that they were not aware of any funeral taking place at the homestead this year.
Several, who did not want to be named, described Ms Kosi’s father as a reserved and feared man.
“We have not heard of the sad news. We therefore don’t know if the incident happened or not because we hardly interact with the family. He does not share information freely,” said one woman who spoke in confidence.
What adds more to the mystery is the fact that Ms Kosi’s Facebook account was deleted around May. Another curious detail provided by concerned friends and relatives is that her WhatsApp account, through the “last seen” feature, indicated she was active on the online chatting platform 14 days after the day she was reported to have died.
Prior to travelling to Canada, Ms Kosi worked at an advertising agency in Nairobi’s South C.
Mr Felix Onguso, her former lecturer at the Kenya Polytechnic, described her as an open-minded person who did not shy away from seeking advice.
Mr Onguso was Ms Kosi’s design lecturer and also the lecturer in charge of her class between 2004 and 2007. He was one of the people who took to social media in August to raise the alarm over Ms Kosi’s whereabouts.
A member of Ms Kosi’s extended family, who sought anonymity for fear of reprisals, said they had been in communication with Ms Kosi when she was in Canada.
The relative said Ms Kosi was most probably enrolled for studies at a Canadian institution early this year.
“There is a photo she uploaded as a profile picture in January. It gave an impression of her being somewhere with students,” said the relative.
The relative had spoken to Ms Kosi about her Canadian boyfriend on a number of occasions and even seen his photos on Ms Kosi’s phone.
“She was happy,” said the relative, adding that the man, who appeared rich, had visited Kenya once and it was during his second visit that he took her along with him after a wedding.