Police in Garissa and neighbouring Madogo, Tana River County are now appealing to members of the public who have missing male persons to report to the two stations or any nearest police station to assist in identifying decomposing bodies retrieved from the crocodile infested river Tana.
The mystery surrounding the recovery of the bodies have puzzled the police because no one has come forward to report any missing person.
In Garissa, police have recovered eight bodies whereas their Madogo counterparts have retrieved six, in the past four months all of which are lying at the Garissa referral hospital mortuary.
Addressing the press at his Madogo office Friday, Tana North sub-county police commander Ali Ndiema said the police have had challenges in carrying out further investigation because no one has come forward to report a missing person.
Ndiema said that the bodies are so decomposed that the police cannot take the fingerprints for identification. He added that no identification documents were recovered.
The sub-county police commander however said the police have taken samples from the bodies to the government chemist for further analysis.
“The challenge we are faced with identification as a police service is what to match the samples we have retrieved from the bodies with. That is why we are appealing to members of the public who have a missing male person to come forward to help us with the investigations,” Ndiema said.
“We have circulated the missing bodies reports as the police procedure requires. But without anyone coming forward to file a missing person report, we cannot further our investigations,” he added.
A police officer privy to the investigation who requested anonymity said the two stations would be forced to take the bodies to neighbouring counties morgues in case deaths that require police investigations occur.
He said one of the stations last week had hectic time looking for a place to preserve a body of a person suspected to have been murdered.
“We went to Mwingi sub-county hospital where they said it was full. They referred us to Migwani but we were turned back. We went to Matuu and Thika public hospitals and the story was the same. We had to go all the way to the City mortuary,” the officer said.
“You can see the scenario we are in as a police service. Unless the bodies are disposed of, we are headed for a crisis,” he added.
Contacted, the Garissa referral hospital medical superintendent Dr. Ambrose Misori said that out of the 12 bodies lying at the facility’s morgue, 11 were brought by the police between May and August 20 this year.
Misori said that the mortuary is full to the extent the hospital has no space to preserve the bodies of patients who die while undergoing treatment.
The hospital superintendent noted that the hospital has initiated the process of disposing off the bodies.
Misori said according to the public health act, police are required to notify the relatives of the deceased to collect the bodies at the expiry of three months for burial failure to which the hospital will dispose them.
“We are writing to the police commanders in charge of Garissa and Tana North notifying them of the procedure. They will be required to swear affidavits in a court of law where the judge or magistrate will give orders for these bodies to be disposed of,” Misori said.