DIED IN VEHICLE

Cause of death of Juja man in viral video not established

Kenyans on social media have been speculating that he might have died of Covid-19

In Summary

• The cause of death of 40-year-old James Maina, a taxi driver, is yet to be established.

•  Juja subcounty police commander Dorothy Migarusha says samples to test for Covid-19 were taken, and they are yet to receive results from the Ministry of Health.

The scene where the body of 40-year-old James Maina was retrieved from his car in Juja on Sunday
The scene where the body of 40-year-old James Maina was retrieved from his car in Juja on Sunday
Image: /JOHN KAMAU

Mystery still surrounds the death of a man whose body was found in a car in Juja on Sunday.

The cause of death of 40-year-old James Maina, a taxi driver, is yet to be established.

Kenyans on social media have been speculating that he might have died of Covid-19 because of how his body was retrieved from the car.

A video showing the body being retrieved by health workers in hazmat suits and other protective gear went viral on social media.

 

According to the police report, G4S guards manning premises near Unaitas Bank in Juja town alerted police of a man who was sleeping on the driver’s seat in his vehicle and appeared to be dead.

The report, seen by the Star, indicates that police called in health officers from Juja subcounty upon establishing that the man was dead.

“The health personnel came and fumigated the vehicle and upon unlocking the vehicle, the body was retrieved and positively identified by his employer,” the report reads.

Some reports indicated that Maina developed breathing complications and had gone to seek medical assistance at Joyland Medical clinic but died in his car before he could get out. The car was parked outside the clinic.

Other reports indicated that Maina had been on a drinking binge and died of suffocation since he slept in his car with windows closed.

But his employer, Alex Kanja told the Star on phone that the reports were just speculations as the real cause of Maina’s death is yet to be established.

“Currently such deaths are being treated as coronavirus deaths. However, the cause of his death will only be established by a postmortem,” Kanja said.

 

Kanja said he has known Maina for less than two months and couldn’t ascertain where he comes from or resided.  

“I don’t know him very well because he took over from another driver who was operating my car. I was to meet him on the fateful day to collect money but got reports of his death,” he said.

Juja subcounty public health officer James Kanyora told the Star that health personnel took the necessary precautions, including fumigating the vehicle and the area, to avoid the risk of other people contracting coronavirus because they were not certain if the deceased succumbed due to the virus.

“We are not taking chances. We had to take the necessary precautions in retrieving and handling the body because no one knows if it was a Covid-19 case,” Kanyora said.

On Tuesday, Juja subcounty police commander Dorothy Migarusha told the Star on the phone that samples to test for Covid-19 were taken, and they are yet to receive the results from the Ministry of Health.

The body is at General Kago Funeral Home in Thika.

Edited by A.N