A family in Nairobi is yet to come to terms with the mysterious death of their daughter in the Netherlands and the decision by her German husband to cremate her remains despite their disapproval.
Ms Mercy Wanjiku Muthui, a 32-year-old Kenyan musician, is said to have been found dead in a ditch that borders the back garden of their house at the Jagerskreek in the Netherlands, shortly after she was reported missing by Mr Daniel Erhardt, her husband, with whom they had a five-month-old son.
Due to the suspicious circumstances surrounding her death, the Netherlands police detained Mr Erhardt for about three days, as they investigated whether it was a crime, a fatal accident or suicide.
Her family, which lives in Jericho in Nairobi, learnt of the news on January 13 through a call from the Foreign Affairs ministry, informing them of what Mr Erhardt had reported to the police — that Ms Wanjiku committed suicide by drowning in the ditch.
Wanjku’s sister, Ms Bilha Muthui, however, said they suspect foul play in the death of Shiko, as they fondly called her.
“According to the media, Mr Erhardt had reported to the police that her wife was not in bed next to him when he woke up and appeared as if she was not at home. But it just took the police a few minutes of search before her body was found at the ditch,” Ms Muthui told the Nation on phone yesterday.
She said Mr Erhardt had, upon being released, contacted the family, saying, he was unable to raise Sh1.2 million to ship Ms Wanjiku’s body to Kenya.
He went ahead to obtain a paybill number to fund raise for the purpose which, according to his Facebook page, managed to raise 2,400 Euros (Sh275,000).
The German texted the family again last Wednesday, saying, he had opted to cremate Wanjiku’s body as a cheaper way of disposal.
The family protested and promised to send a representative to assist him in shipment plans, but he was ‘unco-operative’.
“He said he would cremate her on Friday, the same day we were to hold a memorial for her at Jericho Church. We told him that our customs and beliefs as Christians were not in tandem with cremation, but he said he does not care how we feel and it was our problem to deal with,” Ms Muthui said.
Pained by their in-law’s decision, they contacted Kenya’s ambassador to the Netherlands to intervene, but got no help, she added.
“The response was that Mr Edhardt was now Wanjiku’s next of kin and that whatever he decided would be respected,” she said.
Wanjiku moved to the Netherlands two years ago after a colourful wedding in Nairobi on August 3, 2016.