On January 5, 2023, police in Migori arrested a form four student, Joseph Odhiambo, for falsely claiming to have been kidnapped and demanding a ransom of Ksh. 20,000. The 22-year-old student of Kamunda Secondary School in Awendo, Migori County, had initially reported to his family that he had been abducted by unknown individuals on January 5th. However, four days later, he returned home with clothes bearing blood stains, claiming that his abductors had released him.
Upon further investigation, it was revealed that Odhiambo had fabricated the entire story. He confessed to buying cow blood from a local butcher and staining his clothes to give the impression that he had been brutally attacked. According to Odhiambo, his motivation for the crime was to clear Ksh. 20,000 worth of school fee arrears. He stated that his mother had been paying fees in small portions and that he had hoped to sell a sick cow to clear the arrears. However, his mother denied these claims and stated that there were no arrears.
The police have issued a warning to parents, urging them not to hide children who exhibit such behavior in society. Odhiambo’s actions not only put his own safety at risk, but also wasted valuable resources and manpower in the search for a non-existent kidnapper.