Parents’ pain and horror at city mortuary
She is among some of the 142 students feared to have died in an Al-Shabaab attack on Thursday last week, whose remains have not been identified.
Her father Peter Kithome spent the better part of Monday checking the teeth of all female victims, looking for a unique dental marker which he hopes will help identify his daughter.
“It was the most harrowing experience, opening the mouths of all the dead bodies in the mortuary trying to establish if any of them could be that of my daughter,” said the traumatised father.
Just like himself, Mr Kithome said, Monica does not have normal teeth. “Instead of the normal four incisors on the lower jaw, she has three just like me. This is what I was looking for,” he said, opening his mouth to display his unusual teeth.
Mr Kithome said he works in Mombasa and last saw his daughter two years ago when she joined university for a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance option). But they spoke often by phone.
“Every time my daughter was home in Mutomo, Kitui County, I was away at work. That’s why we have not seen each other all this time.
“I came when we heard the news of the attack on the university. Since then we have been through all the health facilities where injured students were taken including Moi Forces Memorial and Kenyatta National Hospital,” said Mr Kithome, who was among hundreds of parents and relatives who had gathered at the mortuary.
He said Chiromo Mortuary was their last port of call after it also emerged that she was not among the survivors who were taken to their homes. The girl’s mother travelled to Garissa on Thursday to follow up leads on the whereabouts of students said to have escaped.
Mr Kithome said the family has heard that there are some students who managed to escape and were not among those who were escorted home.
“At Nyayo Stadium, we talked to one of the survivors who claimed to have been Monica’s classmate and told us that she was among the group that managed to escape,” he said.
Monica, who scored grade B in her KCSE exam, was among the first lot of students selected to join Garissa University College.
For Mr Charles Kabura, identifying the body of his 25-year-old cousin, James Ochode, has been long and horrible. Som