DNA tests yesterday cracked the mystery of the so-called miracle babies: They are not related at all to the 56-year-old who claimed to have given birth to them at four-month intervals.
A top government official yesterday revealed to the East African Standard that the 12 “miracle babies” had no genetic link with Mrs Eddah Odera
At the same time, the Criminal Investigation Department issued a public appeal to help identify the true parents of 21 “miracle” children — 13 taken from the Odera and nine picked up from the home of evangelist Gilbert Deya.
“We are looking good. There is no such thing as a miracle and I don’t think you believe in it. The DNA tests have shown no link between the children and the suspects we are holding,” said the official.
The official added that it was suspected that an international child trafficking syndicate exists in Kenya and this is what the police were working to crack.
“This shows there has been a syndicate of international child smuggling which now I think police will unravel very soon. You will see fire,” the official said. The results were released to the police by the Government Chemist yesterday after week-long tests.
DNA samples had been taken from the first batch of 12 “miracle babies” seized from Mrs Odera’s home a week ago. Director of Medical Services Dr James Nyikal yesterday issued a statement saying the results were now in the hands of police.
He said the results on the second batch of nine children removed from Deya’s Mountain View home were not yet out but that work was still going on.
Yesterday, the CID appealed for help from the public to identify the true parents of the 21 “miracle babies” as investigators worked to build a case of possible international child smuggling against four suspects in custody, according to sources.
Police made the appeal as Dr Nyikal announced that his team had completed analysing samples collected from the couple behind the saga — Mr Michael Odera and his wife Eddah — and 11 children found in their home.
He said work had started on the second batch of samples from the nine children seized from Deya’s home and one from a Ugandan woman and the results would be out soon.
Earlier, the officer in charge of investigations, Dr John Maina, had said he had not received the report from Nyikal’s office.
“I have not seen the report as of now. May be it is on the way and I will call the Press once I have it because of the magnitude of the matter,” he said.
Mrs Odera, 56, is claiming to have given birth to 13 children in the last five years, a baby every four months, some of them without sexual contact with a man.
The director of CID, Mr Joseph Kamau, yesterday released to the Press close-up pictures of all the 21 children.
Kamau said through the CID spokesman, Mr Gideon Kibunja, that the babies are aged between three months and 14 years.
“We appeal to the public in general and parents who have lost children in that age range in particular to come to CID headquarters in order to identify the rightful parents,” Kibunja said in a press release.
The detectives investigating the case took pictures of all the 21 children whose names are not given. Instead, the pictures are numbered one to 21, starting with the nine who were found in Deya’s home. Kibunja explained that the children’s names were not given because their right parents are not known.
In the pictures, some of the children are smiling while others are crying. The pictures will also be circulated to all police stations across the country.
The children are being cared for at the Nairobi Children’s Home in Lower Kabete as police investigate the circumstances under which the two families acquired them.
Police had raided the two homes and seized the children following reports that Deya Ministries was being investigated for alleged international child trafficking. Mr Deya is facing charges of child trafficking in the UK.
The Oderas had claimed that Eddah gave birth to 13 children within a span of five years “through prayers”.
When detectives later raided Deya’s home and seized nine more children, the evangelist’s wife insisted that the children were hers and she had given birth to them miraculously “through faith and prayers”.
All 21 children were yesterday taken to Kenyatta National Hospital for various medical checkups.
Kibunja said police had restricted visits to the home by people claiming to be parents because the children were becoming traumatised by the overwhelming number of visitors.
So far, 43 couples had by yesterday evening turned up at the CID headquarters claiming to be the children’s parents.