Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Four theories in Mutula myster

Four theories in Mutula myster

By ZADOCK ANGIRA zangira@ke.nationmedia.com AND BENJAMIN MUINDI bmuindi@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted Tuesday, April 30 2013 at 23:30

In Summary
  • Family pathologist given special clearance to participate in post-mortem examination just hours after arriving from the UK

Seven pathologists on Tuesday took part in the post-mortem examination of Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo, whose death has plunged the nation into mourning and speculation.

The team of doctors — one of the largest ever to investigate the cause of a person’s death in Kenya — included British pathologist Calder Ian Maddison, who was flown into the country by the family on Tuesday.

The Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board issued Dr Maddison with a special license allowing him to take part in the examination.

The lead investigator is the Government Pathologist, Dr Johansen Oduor. The examination was delayed on Monday to allow Mr Kilonzo’s relatives to appoint their own doctor.

The other doctors include Dr Luke Musau, Dr Frederick Okinyi of Thika Level 5 and Dr Dorothy Njeru.

Others were Dr Andrew Kanyi Gachie and Dr Emily Rugena.

On Tuesday evening, they addressed the media, saying they had agreed on the preliminary findings and that results of further tests would be ready in eight to 10 weeks.
Also present at the post-mortem were homicide detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department, Assistant Commissioner of Police Pius Macharia and Superintendent Japheth Maingi.

Police told the Nation that they were pursuing four possible causes of death.

“We are exploring suicide, heart attack, poison or an overdose of drugs as all these point to the condition his body was found in,” said a detective on the case, who cannot be named because officers are not allowed to comment on an ongoing investigation.

Mr Kilonzo was found dead lying on his back with some evidence of foaming at the mouth and vomiting on the bed, in the room and a sink in his bathroom.

According to Dr Oduor, poisoning may cause nausea, vomiting, pain, troubled breathing and abnormal skin colour. Poisoning can be through the skin, by breathing, by injection or through a snake bite.

A heart attack can also cause nausea, vomiting and sudden dizziness, he said, adding that foaming on the mouth is commonly associated with epilepsy, trauma and snake bite, among others.

On Tuesday, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko, constituted a legal team to guide the investigations.

By Tuesday evening, there was no word on the doctor’s findings, but detectives said they were questioning the workers who were in the compound with the senator on the day of his death.

Detectives will be testing the consistency of the statements given by the workers about what actually transpired.

Senator Johnstone Muthama of Machakos, who is chairing the burial committee, said the rising number of unresolved and sudden deaths had prompted the family to seek the opinion of an independent expert.

Meanwhile, preparations are ongoing for the burial of Mr Kilonzo at his ranch next week. The Provincial Security and Intelligence Committee said more than 600 police officers will be at the ranch.

The team visited the ranch on Tuesday, 47 kilometres from the city, to plan access, parking, security and other details, including the protection of the wildlife on the property.

Mr Kilonzo kept a variety of animals, including cheetahs and lions.

“We want to guarantee security during the burial and that is why we are making early arrangements,” provincial police officer Marcus Ochola said.

The senator was found dead by his long-serving cook, who alerted Mr Chris Musau, the senator’s brother-in-law and proprietor of the neighbouring Maanzoni Lodge.

Workers have told the media that the senator drove himself into the ranch last Friday at 3pm. More than 60 employees live and work on the ranch.

The workers described the senator as “jovial” as he inspected their work.

“He alighted and went round the flower beds, giving instructions here and there on how best the place should look,” one worker said.

He was served his favourite food, maize and beans, but also asked for roast meat, which was prepared for him. He also ordered breakfast for the following morning.

When workers realised that he had not woken up at his usual time of between 9 and 9.30am, they went to his bedroom after calling out and getting no response.

Mr Kilonzo loved country life and spent his weekends at the ranch.

Additional reporting By Fred Mukinda and Bob Odalo


Experts’ word after 8-hour postmortem examination

Updated Wednesday, May 1st 2013 a 00:00 GMT +3

Pathologists who performed a post-mortem examination on the body of the late Senator Mutula Kilonzo took eight hours but at the end concurred the cause of death could only be established in the next eight to ten weeks.
This is the period the autopsy experts expect to have the full results on tests from specimens extracted from the body.
We took long because we wanted to be thorough, Chief Government s Pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor told journalists at the end of the gruelling wait.
There are many tests that we need to conduct before knowing the possible cause of the death and this may take eight to ten weeks to know, said Oduor. Dr Oduor said the samples would be tested by experts who will reveal the results. He added: All of us, the seven pathologists, are in agreement on the exercise so far. They did not however want to respond to questions from journalists.
The British autopsy expert, Dr Ian Madison Calder, too said he agreed with his colleagues. “I am in agreement with our colleagues and the findings will take a bit longer to be out,” said Dr Calder before they walked away.
Seven pathologists, including a respected British autopsy expert in cases of sudden death, took part in the postmortem examination on the body of the late Makueni Senator.
The autopsy experts yesterday entered the Lee Funeral Home to conduct the exercise expected to unravel the cause of Mutula’s sudden death last Saturday.
However, eight hours later, at 8pm to be precise, non of them had not come out to brief journalists as promised late afternoon by a personal assistant to Machakos Senator, Mr Johnstone Muthama. Muthama witnessed the exercise.
The Senator was in the autopsy room together with the medical representatives of Mutula’s family, Dr Luke Musau of Nairobi Hospital, Dr Emily Rogena, and Dr Calder Ian Madison from the UK.
Media briefing
Dr Calder, his papers showed, has among his areas of expertise, “Forensic medicine in the context of sudden and unexpected death”. The papers also says, “he is a conductor of second autopsies,” meaning cases where the first one is either disputed, disregarded or inconclusive.

However, despite the eight-hour wait, at ten minutes after 8pm, the journalists, who had been waiting outside Lee Funeral Home where Mutula’s body is being kept, got the briefing opportunity they had been waiting for.
While briefing the journalists Muthama earlier showed journalists the temporary practising licence Kenya’s medical authorities issued to Dr Calder whom the Mutula family flew over from Britain to help unearth what caused their patriarch’s death as he slept alone in his Maanzoni Ranch, Machakos County.
The document showed Dr Calder is free to conduct his medical investigation in Kenya for the next ten months. It also showed he is a member of the reputable British Medical Society.
The long wait raised questions on whether the pathologists may have gone into a meeting to review their individual findings at the examination table, where they opened up the body to study the state of the vital organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys and even brain.
In Mutula’s case they took specimens for further laboratory tests and this could include samples from his digestive system.

Medical examination

Postmortem examination usually includes physical examination for any wounds or injuries not obvious to the eye, and where the wounds are visible, an analysis is done to ascertain what might have caused them.
Leading the autopsy team was Dr Oduor, and his colleague Dr Dorothy Njeru. Both Dr Oduor and Dr Njeru examined the bodies of victims of the June 10, 2012, helicopter crash, including that of former Internal security minister Prof George Saitoti and his deputy the late Joshua Orwa Ojode.
Other doctors who took part included Dr Frederick Okinyi from Machakos Level Five Hospital, under whose medical administrative area Mutula died.
There were also Dr Andrew Gachie, who alongside Oduor and Calder, briefed journalists.
The country keenly followed news of the postmortem examination because of the various theories flying around on what could have killed Mutula, a former Justice and Education minister, as well as a senior member of the legal fraternity.
Sources close to family members told The Standard Mutula had expressed fears for his life during the week leading up to his death, including the day he died. This was after having retired to bed at about 7.30pm the previous night after enjoying his favourite meal.

He was later to be found lying dead in bed by one of his workers with foam on his mouth when he failed to wake up as usual after 9am. There were also traces of blood on his vomit, a friend of the family who was at the scene revealed to The Standard journalists.
Yesterday, a group of lawyers led by Roger Sagana, lead police investigator Pius Macharia and some members of the Mutula's family were also at the Lee Funeral Home to witness the exercise.
Dr Calder arrived at Lee Funeral Home at 12.17 pm and was briefed by the lead pathologist Dr Oduor.
Officials said Dr Calder an independent witness at first autopsies in UK and abroad, and a conductor of second autopsies on instruction arrived in Kenya aboard Kenya Airways at 6.20am yesterday.

The fears

Muthama said Dr Calders licence to practise was scrutinised by Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board before he was allowed to operate in the country by the Director of Medical Services, Dr Francis Kimani.

The licence only allows him to render services at the Lee Funeral Home. Muthama said his move to obtain a licence, which he displayed to journalists was procedural.

There has been no hitch at all and we have received all the necessary support from the relevant authorities. We had to get the services of a foreign expert because of the history we have had in this country to clear any form of doubts, explained Muthama.

He had earlier addressed journalists in the company of Dr Calder and Dr Oduor outside the funeral home before they walked to the autopsy room.

Mutula is expected to be buried next week on May 9 in the ranch where he died. Mutula had prior to his death told one of The Standard reporters he had a story that would shake the country, which he wanted to talk to her about.


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