A standoff with morgue attendants on Friday delayed the burial of the foetus of slain university student Sharon Otieno almost leading to an altercation.
The management of MED 25 International – Kirindo- demanded the family produce a death notification before they could release the body.
A postmortem on the foetus and its mother was conducted by a government pathologist at Rachuonyo Subcounty Hospital.
“This is a sensitive matter. We cannot release the body without that document,” a morgue official said.
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Tension grew as the family demanded the body after clearing a bill of Sh4,125.
A detective following the case liaised with the pathologist who sent the document via WhatsApp.
The burial was initially scheduled for between 10am and 11.59 as demanded by tradition that such a baby is buried before noon.
But the foetus reached Samuel Odege’s home in Magare village, Homa Bay Town constituency at 4.27pm and was taken directly to the grave dug behind the man’s house. Odege is Sharon’s paternal grandfather.
About 300 mourners attended the burial. They mourned in silence as is required by tradition. The Luo culture does not allow mourners to wail at the funeral of an unborn child.
The burial ceremony began with a short prayer by reverend Samuel Allan of Homa Bay Anglican Church. The prayer lasted about 10 minutes.
Allan urged residents to avoid statements that could hurt the family. “Let us compare this situation with ours. We should guard our mouths,” Allan said. The foetus, named Baby Sharon, was a boy and would have been buried at the home of Sharon’s husband Bernard Owuor in Rongo.
But Owuor had not paid dowry. “We don’t know the so called Sharon’s husband. He has never stepped in our compound,” John Olweya, an elder who spoke on behalf of the family said.
Sharon’s parents reiterated their call for justice.