Family in Kiambu disputes ‘suicide’ theory after man found hanging

Peter Macharia and his wife Esther. Photo/COURTESY
An old picture of Peter Macharia and his wife Esther. Photo/COURTESY

In Summary

  • On June 21, 2018,  an autopsy on his body was conducted at the Kenyatta University funeral home, revealing that the deceased died out of hanging with suspected chemical poisoning.
  • A second examination was conducted on the July 4, 2018  presided by forensic pathologist Kiama Wangai, and chief government pathologist Johansen Oduor.
  • Macharia’s burial has since been halted until the missing structures are found.

A family in Kiambu county is suing the Kenyatta University funeral home, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the widow of a businessman who died under mysterious circumstances.

Peter Macharia’s family has discounted claims that he committed suicide.

They are now fighting for access to body parts of the deceased businessman which apparently went missing after a postmortem was conducted at the funeral home.

On June 19,  the body of the business man was discovered in his Getamaiyu home, hanging from a rope secured to a staircase grill at the hallway of his house.

Next to him lay a bottle with a chemical substance suspected to be poison.

However, according to investigators, the rope around his neck passed under the collar of his shirt, like a tie would, which struck them as odd.

” I found my uncle with his feet touching the ground and hands intertwined inside his shirt,” one of the family members said.

It is then that family members sought a court order to stop a quickly planned burial by his wife Esther Wambui and to have a second autopsy conducted.

The exercise on July 4 led by Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor and Kiama Wangai, a forensic pathologist, was however inconclusive due to the missing body parts.

The body lacked the hyoid bone, located just below the chin, and thyroid cartilage that holds it in place.

“We cannot then make a conclusive statement without seeing those structures because there is the V-shape hanging sign, but what if there was strangulation?” the pathologists posed.

They also questioned the events that might have led to the death of Macharia given that the second autopsy established the body had an injury on the head and left leg.

“So you have poison, you have an injury on the leg and you have a rope around the neck?” Wangai wondered.

The speed with which the widow made burial plans has also raised eyebrows.

It has emerged that when the incident occurred, she first alerted a neighbour who lives three blocks away instead of the extended family who reside three meters from the main house.

“We had no clue on the incident. We woke up to find people gathered at the home,” one of them said.

Speaking to Citizen TV on phone, the widow denied the allegations claiming that she fled the homestead after attempts by her husband’s relatives to attack her.


Macharia’s burial has since been halted until the missing body parts are found.

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Story By Hassan Mugambi
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