MURDER-SUICIDE

Clerics urged to save marriages as Mwingi family of four buried

Chiefs should be more vigilant in ensuring cases of domestic violence

In Summary

• Rachael Wanja, Mercy Kisungu, 15, and seven-year-old Felix Kisungu died on December 22 after Paul Mwai, the children's father allegedly set their house on fire.

• Wanja and the two children were asleep.

Evelyne Wanjugu is the sole survivor of the murdered family
ONE SURVIVES FIRE TRAGEDY THAT KILLED FOUR FAMILY MEMBERS Evelyne Wanjugu is the sole survivor of the murdered family
Image: LINAH MUSANGI

Religious leaders and chiefs were urged to help struggling marriages as mourners laid to rest four members of family killed in a murder-suicide in Kavuvwani village, Kitui county last year.

Rachael Wanja, Mercy Kisungu, 15, and seven-year-old Felix Kisungu died on December 22 after Paul Mwai, the children's father allegedly set their house on fire. Wanja and the two children were asleep. Mwai died at Mwingi Level 4 Hospital while receiving treatment.

Caskets bearing remains of Rachael Kisungu and her two children at their Kavuvwani village in Mwingi West on Saturday
FIRE VICTIMS BURIED Caskets bearing remains of Rachael Kisungu and her two children at their Kavuvwani village in Mwingi West on Saturday
Image: LINAH MUSANGI

Mwingi Central deputy subcounty police commander Nicholas Mutua said domestic wrangles were to blame for the deaths. 

Evelyne Wanjugu, Mwai's only surviving daughter, was not in the house when the fire broke out.

Wanjugu said her father kept threatening to kill the entire family after their mother demanded he leaves her house. Mwai had reportedly left and sold all his properties in his Katutu home in Kitui.  

A close relative told the Star the duo had differed and Mwai had been chased out of the house. They could not tell whether he came at night and set the house on fire, which seemed to have started where the children and their mother were sleeping.

James Musyoka, Kiomo MCA during the burial of three family members who died following fire tragedy late last month
FIRE VICTIMS BURIED James Musyoka, Kiomo MCA during the burial of three family members who died following fire tragedy late last month
Image: LINAH MUSANGI

When neighbours heard wailing at midnight, they ran to find out the cause of the noise but were met by very heavy smoke.

The door was locked from inside and when they broke the metallic door to the house, Wanja and her two children were already dead.

The three were laid to rest in an emotional send-off at their Kavuvwani home while Mwai was scheduled to be buried at his Katutu home in Kitui.

Kiomo Kyethani MCA James Musyoka condemned the act.

“The chiefs should be more vigilant in ensuring cases of domestic violence are tackled early enough to avoid such incidents,” Musyoka said.

The grave where Rachael and her two children were interred on Saturday
FIRE VICTIMS BURIED The grave where Rachael and her two children were interred on Saturday
Image: LINAH MUSANGI

Musyoka said Wanjugu will undergo counselling as the county sources a job for her.  

“She cannot go back to operate the hotel in Mwingi where she used to work with her mother. This will help her heal faster,” the MCA said. 

The room where fire allegedly broke out killing four family members on December 22, 2020
FIRE VICTIMS BURIED The room where fire allegedly broke out killing four family members on December 22, 2020
Image: LINAH MUSANGI