The final letter from a 17-year-old secondary school girl to her parents before her disappearance

WAIRIMU AND MURIUKI [PHOTO | SIMON NGURE]

A family in Molo, Nakuru County is living in anguish after their 17-year-old daughter went missing.

Silvia Wanjiru ran away from her parents’ home three weeks ago following a fall-out she had had with her teachers at Tayari Secondary School in Molo.

Silvia Wanjiru was a Form Three student at Tayari Secondary School in Molo. She went missing on July 17, 2017 [PHOTO | SIMON NGURE]

Silvia Wanjiru was a Form Three student at Tayari Secondary School in Molo. She went missing on July 17, 2017 [PHOTO | SIMON NGURE]

It is believed Wanjiru, a Form Three student, ran away from home after she was punished by her teachers for an alleged truancy.

According to Silvia Wanjiru’s mother, Beth Wairimu, she last saw the teenager on July 17, 2017, when the girl was preparing to leave for school that morning.

“When I returned home from work at 7pm on July 17, Wanjiru’s siblings told me that she had not returned from school. I dropped my handbag and embarked on a frantic search,” said Wairimu.

According to Wanjiru’s mother, her daughter’s change of behaviour started when she was punished for her absence from school on Saturday, July 10.

“When Wanjiru went to school the following Monday, her name, alongside other students, who had not turned up for extra classes, was read out at the school assembly. The punishment issued to her was to dig a part of the school shamba,” said Wanjiru’s mother, Wairimu.

Wairimu says prior to the Monday disappearance, her daughter, unknown to her, had developed a habit of truancy that had lasted four days, a Form Three class register showed.

For the four days she was not going to school, Wairimu says Wanjiru would dress up in school uniform and return home by 5:30pm – a time the teenager’s mother terms as ‘normal’.

“I don’t understand why the teachers did not report to us about Wanjiru’s absence from school. We would have known what to do,” said the troubled mother of three.

Wairimu says on July 17, one of her neighbours spotted Wanjiru at a bus stage in Molo town.

“I rushed to the bus stage hoping to find her sheltering since it was raining, but she was nowhere to be found,” said Wairimu.

The teenager’s mother recalls returning home to find Wanjiru’s three dresses missing.

Later, Wairimu would find two letters written by her daughter, saying she had opted to drop out of school because her teachers were hostile toward her.

The 17-year-old accused her Mathematics teacher of “irritating” her.

Wanjiru, a first born in a family of three siblings, in the letter, said she was a disappointment to her parents for dropping out of school, but urged them not to be worried because she was “going to land an employment, nonetheless”.

In the letter, Wanjiru said:  “Kama ni boarding (school) sawa. Shule si lazima…Nitatafuta job hata nisiposoma (I am okay with being admitted to a boarding school, but again I don’t have to complete formal education because I stand a chance of landing employment, even though I am uneducated.)”

Tayari Secondary School head teacher, Christine Ojera, says she was unaware of Wanjiru’s absence from school because “the days Wanjiru did not report to school coincided with a period when other students were sent home for school fees.”

Ojera has pledged to work alongside Molo sub county education director to trace the student’s whereabouts.

“We should not point an accusing finger at any quota. Our goal is to ensure the girl is found safe and sound,” said the principal.

Wanjiru’s father, Ephantus Muriuki, says her daughter “is disciplined and has a calm personality” and that her disappearance “shocked us”.

Muriuku has filed a missing persons report at the Molo Police Station. He urges anyone with information about his daughter’s whereabouts to report to a nearby authority.

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