Kenya: Kangogo Won't Get Police Honours At Burial, Says Senior Officer

Policewoman Caroline Kangogo will be buried at her Iten home today without the service's traditional send-off for a fallen officer, the Nation has learnt.

Kangogo, who was being sought for the murder of her colleague John Ogweno and Juja-based businessman Peter Ndwiga before she was found dead in her family's bathroom in Nyawa, Elgeyo Marakwet County, will also not be cremated as she had allegedly expressed in text messages police said were in her phone's draft folder.

A senior officer indicated that the police service will not participate in the burial due to circumstances surrounding her death.

"We do not expect the usual ceremonial send-off like that of serving police officers who die in the line of duty," said the senior officer who requested not to be named.

On Wednesday, the Kangogo family said police had not reached out to them to plan the burial.

Christian send-off

"We have not received any word from police if they will take part in the burial, but we have finalised arrangements to accord her an ordinary Christian send-off," said Mr Robert Kipkorir, the family spokesman and uncle of Kangogo.

In police ceremonial burials, honour guards coordinate most logistics of the funeral service.

The function requires up to 18 experienced officers to stand guard, carry flags and fold the flag that drapes the casket, and the fire the gun salute.

Kangogo's burial was postponed last Saturday after a planned post-mortem failed to take place.

The family also complained that it had been given the go-ahead to plan the funeral, which saw them slaughter a cow, only for news of the postponement to come at 3pm on Friday, long into their plans.

On Tuesday, Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor performed the post-mortem at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) mortuary in Eldoret, Uasin Gichu County, allowing the family to proceed with the burial plans.

No cremation

The family has said it will not honour Kangogo's wish -- allegedly found in a draft message on her phone -- to be cremated.

"Finally, we have been cleared to go ahead and bury her and it will be like any other ordinary Christian funeral," said Mr Kipkorir.

The family had taken a casket with them to Iten Hospital Referral Mortuary, ready to collect the body last week, only to be turned away after the post-mortem failed to take place.

"There was no prior arrangement to perform the postmortem and we had to call it off until today (Tuesday)," said Dr Oduor when asked why he had not turned up at Iten Hospital last week.

The relatives accepted the autopsy results, noting that they will wait for a further report from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

Kangogo's body was found inside the bathroom, some 40 metres from the main house.

A Ceska pistol serial number G4670, which was cocked, with the magazine loaded with eight rounds of ammunition, one bullet in the chamber, one used cartridge and one bullet head were found at the scene.

No blood on walls

The body was in a sitting position, leaning back on the wall of the bathroom with her stretched legs crossed at the ankles and her face covered with a dark green shawl. Her right palm lay on the floor of the bathroom with her thumb and index fingers touching the pistol.

There was no blood on the walls.

"Caroline Kangogo died by a single gunshot wound to the head, which entered through the right chin and exited on the left side of the head, its trajectory going through the brain and the skull," said Dr Oduor after a two-hour post-mortem at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital mortuary.

But as to whether that meant she killed herself, Dr Oduor said he needed to do more tests.

"There were stories of whether she was shot or she shot herself. We will only establish that once we do more tests. We have taken swabs on the hand to find out whether there was gunshot residue. As a pathologist, my job is to establish the cause of death. The manner of death -- either suicide, accident, or natural death -- we will only establish once we see the lab results," Dr Oduor added.

The gunshot wound, he said, was inflicted with the gun touching the chin.

"This was a contact shot, meaning the gun was on the skin when it was fired. This is because there was a hole caused by the bullet and there was soot on the contact spot, or what you call muzzle imprint," he explained.

Dr Oduor, banking on what he said were crime scene investigation reports, said Kangogo died where her body was found.

"This looked like it happened at the scene. From what I have seen and read in the investigator's report -- because I was not at the scene. Ms Kangogo was positively identified by the family and relatives," Dr Oduor told journalists at MTRH.

Police ruled Kangogo's death a suicide.

"It is suspected that she might have shot herself using the firearm from below the chin and the bullet exited on the head slightly above the left ear," a police report said.

bbii@ke.nationmedia.com

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