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DNA test results on Shakahola bodies to be released concurrently

Relatives of persons who perished in the Shakahola cultic tragedy will have to wait longer to identify the bodies of their loved ones using scientific methods.

Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor said results of the 93 DNA samples taken from the relatives were still being analyzed by the Government Chemist and would be released simultaneously after all the autopsies on bodies of the Shakahola massacre are completed.

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“The samples are still being analyzed by the Government Chemist. Since this is a criminal investigation, we intend to release the DNA results simultaneously,” he said Wednesday while answering a question on whether the team had been able to link any of the bodies with the DNA results of the victim’s relatives.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the team is finding it increasingly difficult to determine the causes of deaths of the victims due to the levels of decomposition of the bodies exhumed from the Shakahola farm believed to be belonging to controversial preacher Paul Nthenge Mackenzie.

Out of 49 bodies on which the pathologists and investigators have carried out postmortem examinations on since the resumption of the exercise on Wednesday, the team has been unable to determine the causes of death of 30 victims, with the deaths of 19 having been caused by starvation.

On Wednesday, the team was unable to determine the cause of deaths of eleven out of 27 victims while on Thursday, it could not ascertain what killed 19 out of 22 victims due to their bodies’ levels of decay.

The team has also found it difficult to determine the sexes of many of the victims while in some cases, it could not establish whether the bodies they were examining were those of adults or children due to the levels of decay.

“The more the bodies stay out there (in the Shakahola forest), the more it becomes difficult to determine the causes of death since these bodies were buried without any form of preservation being done on them,” he said.

So far, the team has carried out autopsies on 281 out of the 326 bodies of the victim of the cult that influenced them to starve to death in order to meet their maker. 45 bodies are yet to be examined during the third phase of the autopsies that began on Wednesday.

Dr. Oduor told journalists that the results of the unprecedented number of autopsies would be documented and be made a learning reference not just in Kenya but the entire world.

He said young investigators and pathologists who have been conducting the exhumations and autopsies have learned a lot from the experience, which he said could help them in their professional duties.

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