Two teen brothers die by suicide days after stepbrother’s burial

In a bizarre incident, two brothers conspired to take their own lives in protest at their father’s decision to give part of the family land to their stepmother, with whom he has been estranged for 44 years.

In a sad twist of fate, Vincent Kipkorir Koech, 19, and Gilbert Kibet Koech, 17, died by suicide in the same tree branch by the river, an estimated one kilometre from their home.

The incident happened on Friday at the Amalo River in Kapsilibwa village in Choronok, Sagamian location in Narok County, according to police and local administrators.

It came two days after their stepbrother was buried on family land – a move that is said to have angered the two young men, who caused chaos during and after the funeral.

A police report seen by the Nation said the reason for the suicide was that their father – Mzee David Towett – had two wives and the eldest had returned home, prompting their father to agree to give her part of the family land.

“Out of the 0.8 acres of land the family has, the father of the two boys, after consultation with relatives and elders, decided to give 0.3 acres to his first wife from whom he has been separated since 1978,” said Mr Patrick Kosgey, the Chief of Sagamian.

Mr Kosgey said when the boys went missing from their home on Friday morning, relatives began a search and were shocked to find their lifeless bodies hanging side by side from a tree.

The stepmother – Mrs Alice Chebet – who has eight children, was said to have been welcomed back into the fold after consultation with elders and buried one of her sons at the homestead on Wednesday.

Mrs Chebet is said to have lost her son more than three weeks ago but had no land to bury him on, hence the decision to reconcile with her husband.

The woman is also said to have lost another child a few years earlier, who was buried on land belonging to relatives in neighbouring Bomet County.

The two young men allegedly threatened to commit suicide as a pair on Thursday and took ropes with them, but the matter was not taken seriously as they were known for making threats.

Before they left the homestead, much to the surprise of elders and villagers, they partially destroyed the family houses and had refused to help bury their step-brother the previous day.

“The two (deceased) had previous criminal records, including breaking into two churches in the area,” the police report said.

It is alleged that they stole instruments and curtains from the two churches and sold them in the belief that the congregation would not press charges and that, at worst, they would be “struck by thunder” as punishment leading to their death.

The bodies have since been taken to the Longisa County Referral Hospital mortuary in neighbouring Bomet County to await post-mortem examination before being released to the families for burial.

“It is unfortunate that the family will be burying the two brothers days after their step-brother was buried,” said Stephen Saitoti, the Sagamian member of the county assembly.

Cases of two family members taking their lives at the same time, for the same reasons, are unheard of in the region.

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