Trail going cold in probe on mystery deaths of children

From left: Stephen Mulinge and Catherine Musembi — Alvina Mutheu’s parents — with Emmy Aoko and Clinton Odhiambo — Jacktone Henry’s parents — in Athi River on July 16, 2020. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Alvina was a pupil at Shawn Academy while Jacktone attended Lisla Academy. They were both in the playgroup class.
  • By Thursday, at least 15 police officers from the Athi River Police Station had recorded statements with the DCI.

The shortest distance from Njoguini estate in Athi River town to the police station is about 2.5 kilometres. To get to the station from here you have to traverse dusty paths passing through the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) staff houses and then cross a main road near a Catholic church.

That is if you are in a hurry and don’t mind risking arrest trespassing on KMC land. Otherwise, you have to head south and join another road going towards Mombasa Road to the north and branch to the right after about 2km. This would increase the distance to about 4km.

Yet on June 11, if police accounts are to be believed, two children aged three and four navigated this distance from Njoguini into the Athi River Police station before locking themselves inside a wrecked car until they died. The presence of their bodies then went unnoticed until they were miraculously discovered after completely decomposing.


That is what police want the country to believe on how Alvina Mutheu and Henry Jacktone — who were best friends — died, a fact their parents say is a lie.

“We don’t have a car. Those children do not know how car doors are opened. And even if they really wanted to open a car door, there are so many vehicles around here to make them go all the way to a police station and lock themselves in,” said Alvina’s mother, Catherine Munyiva.

It is now two weeks since their bodies were discovered inside the very police station that their parents had reported them missing and the case is now almost going cold. Alvina was a pupil at Shawn Academy while Jacktone attended Lisla Academy. They were both in the playgroup class.

Sources close to the investigation which was taken over by the Homicide Department at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have told the Nation that detectives are considering requesting for a public inquest. This is after failing to make headway in the case that has for the last one month gripped the attention of the country.

By Thursday, at least 15 police officers from the Athi River Police Station had recorded statements with the DCI. Detectives wanted to find out how the children ended up in the parking lot unseen and how no one noticed the stench of their decomposing bodies for that long.


Also questioned are officers and their families living in staff houses located nearby. How comes they never heard the children cry or smell their rotting bodies? So many questions remain unanswered like how no one noticed the children walk into the station without being accompanied by an adult.

“There are too many theories out there but it is only God who knows and one day the truth will be known,” said Jacktone’s father, Cliftone Odhiambo.

His wife Finny Aoko is yet to come to terms with what happened and barely talked during our conversation before saying at the end with teary eyes: “That thing is too painful. I can’t imagine someone did that to young children and still sleeps at night. People are heartless.” It is puzzling how the police bungled their search immediately it was reported to them that the two children were missing.

To get to the car where the bodies were found from the Athi River Police Station you have to pass in front of the main block and past a row of dozens of parked cars, some impounded and others belonging to visitors. At the main block, an armed police officer is always on guard enquiring from all visitors what their mission at the station is. If you manage to get past the officer and rows of cars, you have to pass through a small field full of wrecked cars before getting to a grey Toyota Allion registration number KCT 510X.

It is inside this car that the two bodies were found lying on the floor between the front and back seats. It is said Jacktone’s body was naked and his clothes were on the front seat.

Alvina’s body was in a purple sweater, purple trousers with a red stripe and orange gumboots. These are the clothes Alvina was last wearing when she was reported missing. They prompted the police to call her parents.


“On the same morning they called us, my wife was at the station a few hours before the police said they might have found them but they did not tell her anything,” says Alvina’s father Stephen Mulinge.

Henry Jacktone (left) and Alvinah Mutheu whose bodies were found in a car at Athi river Police Station on July 1, 2020. PHOTOS| POOL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“Every time we went to the station the police told us to look for the children and call them if we find them. That is what they told me a few hours before calling us to the station to identify the bodies,” responds Alvina’s mother Catherine Munyiva.

Alvina and Jacktone were last seen at about 10:30am on June 11 watching an earth mover that was digging trenches 20 metres from the apartment their families live in. Jacktone was reported as having gone missing at 3:53pm on OB number 50 at the Athi River Police Station.

Alvina’s disappearance was reported the same day at 3:58pm as OB number 53. When asked what they did to help locate the children, Athi River Sub-county Police Commander Catherine Ringera refused to comment and instead referred us to the DCI.

“I am also waiting to hear from the DCI. However, whatever happened was sad,” Ms Ringera told the Nation. With the bodies badly decomposed, government pathologist Johansen Oduor says the only hope lies on a forensic entomologist to tell exactly when the two children died, a process whose results will take another two weeks.

“We could not establish the cause of the deaths because their bodies were badly decomposed,” said Mr Oduor.


“There were no fractures on their bones and we cannot attribute their deaths to any specific cause. We are now relying on the police and results from the government lab,” he added.

In the government pathologist’s initial estimation, the bodies may have stayed in the car for about three to four weeks. Alvina and Jacktone’s bodies were found on July 2, exactly 21 days after being reported as missing on June 11. Trail going cold in probe on mystery deaths of children

This means that they could have died at around the same week they went missing.

The difficult question, which the homicide team has not established to date, is who killed the two children and why? Jacktone’s father is a casual labourer at a ceramics factory, while Alvina’s dad sells water for a living. They both live in the same apartment block.

“I have written several statements but I don’t see how they are helping. I won’t do it anymore. What we want are answers not questions,” Jacktone’s father said.

“If there is someone who had an issue with us, why did they have to take the children? What did they want? I waited for my daughter to come for lunch in vain,” said Alvina’s mother.


But even as police think of throwing in the towel on the investigations, the Nation has established that they may have overlooked certain clues that could have aided them to tie down the case.

Like for instance, both Alvina’s father and Jacktone’s dad received calls from a person claiming to be a chief in Bomet who told them he had spotted the two children with a certain woman. The caller whose number was reported to Athi River Police station asked for money in order to provide further information.

“The caller hang up and I sent him Sh100 airtime so that we talk. He then asked for Sh1,500 for fuel in order to get more details about the children who he said were in a bus in Narok,” recalls Jacktone’s father about the call which was made to his phone at 11:32 on June 22.

On another occasion, Alvina’s mother received a text message from 0783900783 on June 13 saying that the two children had been located. “Nimeona watoto wako. Tuma 500 (I have seen your children send Sh500),” said the text.

Investigators have never followed up on either the message or the call