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Court postpones burial for exhumed boy for three more weeks

The family of a boy whose remains were exhumed 22 months ago in Bomet County will wait for three more weeks to know the fate of their prayers before court to be allowed to bury him.

Family members Ms Daisy Chelangat (boy’s mother) through Ms Margaret Ruto, a US based human rights activist told the press in Bomet town today that the planned burial was postponed after the High Court in Bomet moved the ruling on the matter to 23rd of March.

The remains of James Kipkirui who was buried without the family’s consent at Dow Children’s home at Kapsiratet village in Boito ward, Konoin Sub County nine years ago are lying at Longisa County Referral hospital.

Mr Gregory Hayes Dow a Christian missionary in Kenya was last month convicted and sentenced to serve 15 years and eight months jail-term in the US after pleading guilty to charges of defiling underage girls who were under his custody at the children’s home

The home was closed in 2017 by the government following complaints by the girls who were sexually abused by Mr Dow.

Nine out of the 87 girls at the home had repeatedly been defiled by the American by the time he fled Kenya.

            Mr Dow sensing arrest by the authorities fled the country secretly but his wife Mary Dow was arrested and released after a Sotik court fined her Sh20,000 and flew out of the country the same day she was released.

United States District Judge Edward G.Smith in Lancaster County, Philadelphia also ordered Dow to pay Sh1.7 million (USD 16,000) in restitution for the crimes committed against the children in Kenya who were between 11 and 13 years old after Kenyans in America prosecuted him.

It is alleged that the boy died in 2012 after choking on food and was buried at Dow Children’s home despite protests by family members who were overruled by the American missionaries.

Former Bomet Resident Judge Martin Muya granted exhumation orders sought by Directorate of Criminal Investigations on October 11, 2018 after the family went to court demanding to give their son a decent send off.

The court found Mr Dow guilty in absentia for secretly burying the boy’s remains without informing the police, securing a burial permit, a death certificate from the registrar of Births and Deaths or informing authorities including the area chief.

Court orders given on March, 25, 2019 directed police and public health officials to exhume the remains and conduct a postmortem for the body to be granted to the family for burial rites.

The body was exhumed on May 30, 2019 and an autopsy conducted by the Chief Government Pathologist and remains kept at the morgue to date.

A human rights activist in America Ms Margaret Ruto who has been assisting the family came to Kenya last month after her successful prosecution of the Dow case in America said court orders to grant the family the body for burial has been delayed due to the missing postmortem report from the court files

            Bomet Resident Judge Justice Roselyne Korir ordered prosecution to produce relevant documents before court as a result set the hearing for March 23, time within which the DCI will be expected to have tabled an autopsy report.

by Joseph Obwocha

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