, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 12 – A Kenyan woman and her two children who were murdered by her husband in America last month will not be brought back home for burial after all.
Her family and that of her in-laws who were engaged in a tussle over where the bodies should be interred have finally agreed that the three should be buried in New Jersey, in the US on Monday.
Bilha Kwamboka was murdered by her husband Justus Kebabe who also killed his two children Ivyn Ogendi, 9, and Kinley Ogendi, 12, on October 13.
Mr Kebabe has already admitted to the crimes and could face up to 76 years in jail. He is due to be sentenced on January 14.
The late Kwamboka’s family was opposed to having the bodies airlifted to Kenya for burial as demanded by Mr Kebabe’s family, according to a relative Joseph Lister Nyaringo who resides in the US.
“We have given up on the quest to have the burial of Bilha who was killed together with her two children Kinley and Ivyn buried in Kenya,” Mr Nyaringo said in an e-mail to Capital News.
He said a brother to the late Bilha, Danvas Omare of New Jersey was “given the three bodies at the weekend by the State of Minnesota and the burial is slated for Monday November 15 in New Jersey.”
Mr Nyaringo, who is a cousin to Mr Kebabe said that although they had given up on their demands of having the bodies taken to Kenya for burial, they still believed it was a better option.
“I don’t see any logic why the burial should be done in the US when it’s actually cheap to transport the bodies to Kenya in order for the large family to give the victims last respects,” he said.
The decision to have the burial done in the US has elicited mixed reactions back home.
Mogire Magara, a spokesman of the late Bilha’s family in Kenya said they had resolved to await the outcome of deliberations in the US.
Others termed the decision as ‘absurd.’
“We decided not to get involved over the raging debate on where the three should be buried and waited for any outcome,” he said told Capital News.
Mr Magara said they had received the information that the three would be buried in the US and they have no dispute on that.
“Yes, I got the information that Bilha and her two children will not be brought home after all and that they will be buried in the US,” he said on telephone.
Mr Magara said the family would respect that arrangement since Bilha’s brother is the one to whom the State of Minnesota had handed over the bodies for burial.
It is understood that Bilha’s mother, Hellen Kemunto, may travel to the US to pay her last respects to her daughter and the two grandchildren.
Another relative said that some close family members of Bilha would accompany her mother for the burial.
He added that Mr Kebabe’s father had made it clear that he would not travel to the US for the burial.
“Mzee Charles Kebabe has declined to travel for the burial and he has his reasons,” said the relative who is based in Kisii town.
The source said the 74-year-old man had wished that the bodies be brought back home for burial in line with the culture of the Abagusii community.
It is said that Mzee Kebabe has termed the decision to have the bodies’ buried back in the US as “uncustomary.”
Mr Kebabe told police that he killed his wife by hitting her with a golf club and then strangling her with an electrical wire at the family home after suspecting her of infidelity.
He then drugged his children and later killed them by holding the son’s head underwater and suffocating the girl with a pillow.
"Stop, Daddy, stop!" 12-year-old Kinley Ogendi is reported to have said as he struggled for his life underwater in the bathtub, the criminal complaint read.