Caroline Kangogo laid to rest
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

Caroline Kangogo laid to rest quitely, no gunfire salute as relatives describe her as humble and disciplines

There was no gunfire salute and no police officer attended in uniform as police constable Caroline Jemutai Kangogo was finally laid to rest at her parent's Nyawa village home in Elgeyo Marakwet county.

Tradition in the police service would require a 21 gunfire salute but because of circumstances of her death, Caroline was denied the honours and buried quietly in the village that lies on the escarpment of Kerio valley.

Her remains dressed in a wedding dress as per her request, Caroline was described as a humble and good officer by friends and relatives who turned up for the send-off.

She was popularly known in the village as "Chemu' and schooled at the local Nyawa primary school a few meters from the home.

Records at the school indicate she was a disciplined girl and a prefect.

"Maybe she encountered other challenges in the police service but our records show she was a very good girl", said the current headteacher at Nyawa primary Beatrice Tilitei.

More than 20 police officers mostly from Nakuru were present to witness the burial.

Most relatives said they did not believe it was the same "Chemu'" they knew who was linked to the murders of two people including her colleague in Nakuru.

Maybe subdued by the pain of loss, her father Barabara Kangogo and mother Leah could not address mourners but opted to pass their tributes through a family spokesman.

A family spokesman Robert Kipkorir said they were saddened and deeply affected by events around her death.

"We don't know what happened as a family because we didn't believe it's the Caroline we knew. She was described as dangerous and fugitive but it was painful to us. The police will tell us the truth", he said.

He said they pray that the same experience does not happen to anyone else.

"The real truth lies between her and heaven. Investigations we are told are going on well and what we want is the truth to be told. We are satisfied with what is going on in investigation", said Kippkorir.

Her brother Mark also eulogized his sister saying she was good and they were surprised with what happened.

Mark said his sister was so good despite all that has been written about her in the media.

"if she committed the murders as claimed then it was unfortunate. I even talked to senior police officers who also said Caroline was a good officer", said Mark.

From the government, only two chiefs were present including Caroline's cousin Jane Suter who is a Chief for Kamogich area in the same county.

"We loved Caroline as our sister and we thank God for all that has happened. There are so many things but it's only Caroline and her God who knows the truth", said the chief.

He said many people had said bad things about Caroline but they had left all to God.

Local politicians led by Deputy governor Wesley Rotich and governor aspirant Dr Loice Kipkkorir were present.

Rotich asked the government to look into effective ways of handling stress and depression in the police service where officers were exposed to many challenging issues.

He also cautioned the media to handle such incidents with care so as to avoid exposing families to psychological torture.

Family members said they were satisfied with ongoing investigations and the autopsy performed by Chief government pathologist Dr. Johansen Oduor.

Oduor carried out the autopsy at the Moi Referral Hospital in Eldoret and said the bullet entered the body through the right chin and exited on the left side of the head and there was a trajectory going through the spine to the brain killing her.

However, he said further investigations would be done to establish if she shot herself or she was shot by someone else.

“When I looked at the gunshot wound entry it was a contact wound meaning the gun was on the skin.

He said there was a hole caused by the bullet and areas of burning known as muzzle imprints.

Further investigations would be done through laboratory analysis of samples taken from the body.

“We have taken swabs from her hand to find out if there were any gunshot residues which will be able to tell us that”, said Oduor.

Kangogo was found dead in a bathroom at her fathers home at Nyawa village in Elgyeyo Marakwet County

Circumstances around her death raised a huge debate especially online as many Kenyans raised questions seeking to know if the officer shot herself dead or was killed by unknown people who may have stage-managed the scene where the body was found.

Some experts questioned how Kangogo could shoot herself and the gun remain the hand while her legs were in a relaxed position and that there were no splashed blood at the exit of the bullet.

There were also questioned the draft confession text messages found in Kangogo’s phone at the scene with claims that the messages may not have been written by her.

The policewoman who was described as a sharpshooter said in the draft messages that she suffered depression and lamented about her husband, whom she accused of philandering and neglecting her and her children.

The message appeared meant for her brother as she asked him and her parents to take care of her children because "their father is too much into women".

In the text messages she allegedly attempted to explain her actions blaming her former husband who is a senior police officer and also lamenting of being frustrated by her family and a senior boss in Nakuru.

Kangogo asked that she be buried at her parents' home because her husband 'dumped' her.

Kangogo was a suspect in the killing of two people, including police Constable John Ogweno, in Nakuru on Monday, July 5.

She later allegedly shot dead Peter Ndwiga Njiru, 32, in lodging in Juja, Kiambu County.