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Mother in custody after baby sold for Sh80,000 :: Kenya

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A police officer with baby Consolata Wambui after her rescue. [Mkamburi Mwawasi, Standard]

In a strange twist of events, the mother of the eight-month-old baby who disappeared in Mombasa has been arrested after the infant was recovered.

After days of frantic search that was backed by thousands of messages on social media, police investigation led them to a village miles away, where they found baby Consolata Wambu.

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Mombasa police boss Johnstone Ipara said they tracked the baby in Susumua area, Molo Sub-county where she was living with a 35-year-old Margaret Wairimu.

The woman, they said, claimed to have bought the baby at Sh80,000.

The baby was reported to have been snatched from her bed at their home on November 8. The circumstances under which she disappeared caused shock and panic among residents of Mshamori where it was reported that unknown people got into the house and grabbed Consolata from the chair where she was sleeping. Nobody heard anything. The door had not been broken into, and nothing else had been stolen from the house apart from the baby.

Police are now placing Joyce Wairimu Kairo, the baby’s mother, at the centre of investigations. They claim they have found leads that link Joyce to the kidnap of her own baby. Through GPRS trackers, they were able to track communications between Joyce and the two women.

“Two suspects, Margaret Wairimu who was posing as the mother of the baby and Susan Nyambura, 54, as the grandmother are now in police custody and will be arraigned in court on Monday together with Joyce,” said Ipara.

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The disappearance of the baby has been a subject of news and blogs ever since the family tearfully recounted how they suspect someone sneaked into the house and grabbed the baby when their niece who had been taking care of her stepped out for a few minutes.

“From the time we lost the baby, we are extra cautious. My wife does not leave the house anymore. She stays at home the whole day,” Peter Kairo, the baby’s father, said in a previous media interview.

Sources reveal that the kidnap could have been pre-planned and that one of the women who was arrested had previously visited the home.

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Main suspect

“It is so unfortunate that a mother can sell her own baby that she has carried for nine months and feels nothing about it,” said Ipara, who added that they are still investigating the people involved in the crime, and handling Joyce as the main suspect.

On social media, users expressed shock when it was revealed that the mother had been implicated in the crime. 

“The moment I saw the poster and saw that baby’s face, I started praying for the mother because I knew the pain of losing a child. Your life changes completely. I am disgusted to imagine the mothercould have been involved,” Eunice Maangi, whose child disappeared without a trace in 2013, wrote on Facebook.

Others found it hard to believe that the mother could have been involved, as the family had put a Sh100,000 prize on whoever would lead them towards finding their baby.

“It is unbelievable that she may have sold the baby for Sh80,000. Investigations should be done to find if she is of the right mind frame,” reads another post.

At the police station in Molo, the baby looked healthy and oblivious of the commotion around her as her mother and the two suspects were moved in different rooms for questioning. Ipara said the child will be in custody of the police until the matter in court has been heard and determined.

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Peter Kairo Kinuthia, the father of the infant, was always hopeful that a miracle would happen and the baby found.

In previous interviews, he said baby Consolata disappeared a few minutes after her mother had returned home from where she works as a businesswoman to breastfeed her.

“My wife had just come home to breastfeed the baby at lunch time, thereafter she left to her business premise which is not far from the home. Only to come in the evening to reports that the baby had been stolen,” said Kinuthia.

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