Mystery deepens over missing Garissa student
The mystery surrounding the whereabouts of a missing Garissa University College student has deepened after a DNA test revealed that the only body remaining at the Chiromo mortuary is not hers.
On Thursday, Risper Mutindi Kasyoka’s father, Isaac Mutisya, was told by government pathologists at the morgue that the body’s DNA composition did not match that of the collected samples from her parents.
“They told me that we did not have any relationship with the female whose body is still remaining at the mortuary,” Mr Mutisya said.
He said he had all along feared that the body at the mortuary did not belong to his daughter because of the physical appearance.
“The lady whose body is at the mortuary was tall, slimmer and darker but since the bodies of the Garissa victims had been badly damaged and all the other parents had identified their children’s bodies, I was just hanging on to a little hope that it would be Risper’s” he said.
Asked whether he thought another parent had mistakenly claimed his daughter’s body, Mr Mutisya said the process of body identification had been detailed and that there was no way a mistake could be made.
“You know during the identification process, I had mistaken one body by the physical looks, but when the fingerprints were taken for biometric identification, it was revealed to belong to a different girl called Nyokabi” he said.
Mr Mutisya said has been to Chiromo mortuary, the Kenyatta National Hospital and the National Disaster Management officers at Nyayo House since the April 2 terrorist attack in Garissa, hoping that he would find answers on where his daughter is.
The high school teacher who works in Kitui has made countless trips to the city from his home in Ndonguni Village in Nzambani for the last five weeks in vain.
“It has not been easy going home to her mother and siblings with no news about her whereabouts. It has really taken a toll on us” Mr Mutisya says.
A source from the National Disaster Management Unit told the Daily Nation that identity of the body still at the mortuary could not be found in the national biometric database.
“The fingerprints were taken and a search on the data could really not reveal details about the lady. We suspect that she either is a minor or is not a Kenyan” the source indicated.
No other family looking for their loved one, according to the source, has claimed the remaining body.
As Risper’s family continue with their search for her, several questions remain unanswered concerning her whereabouts.
Her father now says that he will seek legal advice on what to do next, even though he says that the search has taken a toll on the family’s finances.
“I really do not know where to start now. I do not know what to do next. But I want to find a lawyer to advise me” he said.
Mr Mutisya learnt about the April 2 attack through the head teacher of the school where he works.
“The head teacher approached me and asked me if I had learnt of the attack at the Garissa University College where my daughter was studying. I did not proceed to class but instead started calling my daughter but she did not pick up her calls. I kept trying over and over in vain.
“At around 5.30pm, her phone went off. All this time, I became more and more anxious as we followed the events through the media. Every time the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaiserry made a press briefing, my heart broke. It tore me apart,” he said, as he posed to recall the fateful day during an an earlier interview.
His family remained prayerful and hopeful that their second last-born child was well somewhere but the clock ticked and diminished their hopes further.
“The next day, my son and I went to the Kenyatta National Hospital, where we had been told that the casualties resulting from the attack would be admitted. Of all the 24 students we found at the hospital, my lovely Risper was nowhere to be found and that killed my hopes of finding her alive” he said.
During the interview, Mr Mutisya kept referring to his daughter as “my lovely Risper.”
On April 2, as it had been announced through the media, families of those who perished during the attack gathered at the Chiromo mortuary, where the bodies were taken.
Risper’s family was there even though her father had hoped that his daughter would appear or just call.
“We queued, and looked at the bodies one by one. At some point, we saw one body that we purported to be hers, but another family later claimed that body and fingerprints proved that it belonged to a different student called Nyokabi” he said.
Day after day, he visited the morgue, hoping that he would l somehow trace the body. He kept checking, just to be sure that he had not made a mistake.