The court of appeal in Texas has allowed the exhumation of Kenyan woman Dorothy Bosibori Ongera’s body for autopsy.
The court dismissed an application by Dorothy’s partner Obadiah Kinara, who was seeking to block the deceased’s parents from exhuming and conducting a postmortem on the body to establish the exact cause of her death.
Kinara, who claimed to be Dorothy’s next of kin, was accused of secretly burying her without involving his parents-in-law, who also live in the US.
He moved to the appeals court seeking to quash the decision of a lower court which ordered that Dorothy’s body be exhumed for medical examination to determine what killed her.
In March, Justice Brooke Allen of Probate Court No. 2 in Tarrant County issued an order for exhumation following a petition filed by Dorothy’s father David Ongera.
Dorothy was found dead inside a bathtub at her house in Dallas on December 17th, 2020, and was buried on December 28th, 2020 in a public cemetery by Kinara.
“The only time I saw my daughter was on December 16th. I was never allowed to view her body. All family members, including her children, were barred from the burial ceremony,” Mr. Ongera told the court.
Kinara says Dorothy was his wife and he had the right to bury her but Mr. Ongera insists that their union was not legally recognized.
Dorothy, a mother of six, was living with Kinara, with whom she had three children. The father of the other children is Dorothy’s estranged husband Dennis Nyakundi Mose, who lives in Kenya.
“I loved my wife and I’ve been deeply hurt and affected by the social media campaign orchestrated by my in-laws to create the impression that I had something to do with the death. I believe some people are doing this because they are targeting my children and the insurance payouts,” Kinara told Nation in an interview in February.
Kinara presented in court a divorce decree allegedly issued by a court in Kisii, purportedly dissolving the marriage between Dorothy and Mose, who is listed as an interested party in the matter but was unrepresented in the litigation.
Mr. Ongera’s attorney contested the alleged divorce order, dismissing it as a forgery. Investigations showed that the case number on the alleged court order belongs to different parties in the ongoing litigation in Kisii.
While dismissing Kinara’s application, the Second Court of Appeals Judges, Birdwell, Bassel, and Wallach, said the appellant did not raise any credible issues to warrant their intervention on the ruling made by the lower court.
The judges directed the lower court to hear and determine who had the right to take possession of the body. The hearing is set for September 27th.
Kinara is also facing criminal charges of child abuse and endangerment in a Texas court. His six children have been taken away from him for their safety after the Children's Protection Service established that they were not safe living with him.
Mr. Ong'era, who was granted the safe custody of the children, said he was happy with the superior court’s ruling.
He stated that all he wants is to know what caused the mysterious death of his daughter and accord her a decent burial in the US.