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Kenyan Authorities to Investigate Conduct of Seminarian found Dead Alongside Woman and Son

Late Kelvin Kipkoech Kimaiyo

Police in Kenya are planning to visit St. Thomas Aquinas National Major Seminary in Nairobi Archdiocese to conduct an investigation into the life of a Seminarian who was found dead alongside a woman and her son.

Kelvin Kipkoech, a native of Kenya’s Eldoret Diocese, was in the last year of his formation to the Priesthood at the Catholic Major Seminary that hosts Seminarians from Kenyan Dioceses pursuing studies in Theology.

On Tuesday, March 2, a team of investigators concluded that Seminarian Kelvin first killed Charity Cheboi and her son Allan Kipngetich by suffocating them before he committed suicide hours later.

Kenyan media reported that the bodies of the mother and her son were found lying on the floor of her bedroom while holding rosaries while Kelvin’s remains were found inside the toilet with his hands and legs tied.

Postmortem results released February 27 revealed that Cheboi, 34, and her eight-year-old son suffered suffocation and that the two could have been dead for over 24 hours before their bodies were discovered.

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The team of investigators told local media in Kenya that Kelvin had locked himself in the toilet. The post-mortem results also suggested that 30-year-old Kelvin could have died a day after the death of Charity and Allan.

“Had there been another party in the house there is no way he or she could have locked the toilet from inside. It seems it is the deceased man who locked it to enhance his mission to die,” an officer involved in the probe was quoted by The Star as saying.

Investigators further said that Kelvin had cherry red tissues, which are found in the body of a person who has died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“The gentleman died because of carbon monoxide poisoning. I have gotten information that some jiko was found next to him,” Government chief pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor said, adding that the Seminarian’s hands and feet were loosely tied, a finding that has given credence to the claim that Kelvin could have tied himself.

Detectives involved in the case say they have, however, not established the motive of the murder and suicide and are planning to visit the Catholic Major Seminary where Kelvin was pursuing his studies in Theology to get more information on his character.

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“We don’t know if he was jinxed because he was to graduate and be a Priest or there was any other issue. We intend to dig further on his character,” another officer involved in the investigation told The Star, one of Kenya’s national newspapers.

In an interview with ACI Africa on Monday, March 1, Fr. John Lelei, the Rector of the Seminary described Kelvin as a “a very good student” who never “did anything to show he wasn’t committed to (Priestly) formation” while at the Seminary.

Fr. Lelei said it was difficult for the leadership of the Seminary to know the circumstances surrounding the deaths.

“It is very hard for us to know anything concerning this situation. All I can say is that Kelvin was a very good student. He never did anything to show that he was capable of the circumstance that he found himself in. All I saw was a student who showed commitment to his formation,” Fr. Lelei told ACI Africa March 1.

The Rector said that the Seminary had been closed for days when the incident was reported and that the Major Seminarian was expected to be in his native Diocese of Eldoret.

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“The Seminary was closed and all Seminarians were expected to be at home with their families or at the Dioceses. We closed the Seminary on February 6 and the news of the death reached me on February 23. This makes the incident difficult for us to handle,” the Kenyan Seminary Rector told ACI Africa.

According to Fr. Lelei, Seminarian Kelvin was supposed to report back to Nairobi in August to complete his studies in Theology.

Meanwhile, Fr. Lelei has faulted widely circulated media reports identifying Seminarian Kevin as a Priest of the Catholic Church.

The March 2 report by one of Kenya’s leading newspapers reads, “Priest killed woman, her son before committing suicide – police”.

Fr Lelei says, “Whatever is being shared by the media creates the impression that Kelvin was a Priest. No, he wasn’t. This was just a young man who was still discerning his call.”