Love, they say, can make you cross oceans and climb mountains, and for Mercy Wanjiku Muthui migrating to her new home in Netherlands was supposed to be the beginning of a blissful married life.
Indeed, it seemed like love brewed in an African pot for the singer and reality TV star from Jericho, Eastlands.
But this was not to be the case, considering the mystery surrounding her sudden death on January 12. There was conflict between her widower who wanted her cremated in the Netherlands and her family who demanded the body be returned for burial.
She was cremated and the family is distressed, suspecting foul play. Her widower says she committed suicide by drowning.
Wanjiku was 32 years old. Her moniker was Shiquio Muthui, the name she used in two music reality shows, Tusker Project Fame and Coke Studio Africa.
She also recorded a popular Christmas song, Mary, did you know?
Wanjiku’s body was found lying in a ditch outside her house in the Spijkenisse, the Netherlands. A few metres away, her husband and six-month-old son lay asleep.
This information has been brought to light by Wanjiku’s husband Daniel Erhardt, who spoke exclusively to the Star yesterday from the his home in the western Netherlands province of South Holland. He had been arrested, questioned and released.
“Like the preliminary forensic report says, there is no sign of a struggle and there was a lot of water in her body.
The final report is not yet finished, some tests will take a bit more time. My lawyer said it can take up to three months,” Erhardt said.
The toxicology report is supposed to be released in a month.
Wanjiku’s family in Nairobi is suspicious and wants further investigation into her sudden death. Too late.
“We sent our friend to view the body at the mortuary and take pictures for us. Those pictures indicate her left eye was injured and she had a patch on her left eye,” her sister Bilha Muthui told the Star.
According to Bilha, on January 12, 2019, they were notified of her death through a call from the Foreign ministry. They were told her German husband Daniel Erhardt had told police Wanjiku had committed suicide by drowning herself into a ditch.
“We read from the newspaper that she was found in a ditch,” Bilha said.
According to the preliminary forensic report in the Star’s possession, “There is accumulation of clear fluid in the chest cavities (together approximately 130ml). There was an end of the lungs in the chest … There was a vague red skin on the right cheek with slight subcutaneous redness on the cut… There were no punctiform [point/puncture/dot] hemorrhages in the conjunctiva of the eyelids or elsewhere. With larynx and tongue bone were intact.”
The cremation has angered Wanjiku’s family. Bilha said, “He [Erhardt] was here during our dad’s burial and he knows how we do things.”
The widower defended the cremation, saying the cost of preserving the body and transportation costs to take it home for burial were astronomical.
“The focus now is on taking care of my six-month-old son,” he said, adding if the family wants her ashes, “they have my number.”
The baby is in the custody of the Netherlands Children’s Department.
Police arrested Erhardt over the suspicious circumstances surrounding Wanjiku’s death, but released him.
“I spent six days in prison because of the investigations,” Erhardt said.
Bilha denies his claim of suicide.“There is no day she said she was having an issue with life and even on that day, she talked to friends from Kenya. Our sister was full of life and her neighbours know her for that,” Bilha said.
Erhardt said, “The only strange thing I have seen is her stuff about God and her messages on Facebook and videos got strange…”
Hours before her death, Wanjiku posted on Facebook, “Leave Everything Behind. Stop working. Stop planning. Stop storing things. Stop keeping treasures. For this world you’re building is not a world it is just a small box. In a big sea.”
She continued, “Think of how to leave. Stop planning ahead. Say you are tired. All of you. Agree you are tired….Agree on a time. And put off all the lights and rest in peace.”
Wanjiku had been in the Netherlands for two years after she married Erhardt in August 2016 and had been communicating with her family.
“My last memory of Shiquo (Wanjiku) is how she was singing and dancing for our son that Saturday evening, when I went to sleep.”
Wanjiku and Erhardt met online through a dating app called Tagged. “The first day we chatted we clicked,” Erhardt said.
Erhardt posted on Facebook, “During my first visit in Kenya, I fell totally in love with her: We went to buy food, stood at a butcher and she ordered the meat and spoke in her own language. I stood there understanding nothing and looked around like a tourist… In a split second, her voice changed and a dragon came out.
“After a heated discussion, I slowly saw how the butcher got scared, I could read it in his eyes. We came out of the shop and she was still on fire. I asked what happened inside there and she told me the butcher wanted 50 per cent extra because she was with a Kamau (white person with money). I was impressed.”