On January 2, 2016, two naked new born babies were found by a gardener in a green plastic bag in the grove of trees in Kiambu.
The baby on top had scratches suspected to be from a wild animal and a broken arm, and the baby on bottom (Baby John Kiano) was in better shape but both babies were very cold, severely distressed seemingly having been left all night and were in dire medical need. The tiny twin boys were rushed to Kiambu hospital. The brother, named James by hospital staff, died in the hospital and baby John was eventually sent to Jean Petty Legacy Home.
By August 2016, doctors said that his life expectancy was poor, and that he was not expected to live for long. The home kept him, just waiting for his death.
However, in the same year, Daisy Mazzoncini, a teacher from the USA, visited Kenya to do some volunteer work. She was told about Baby John Kiano’s case, which she took keen interest on.
This is when she introduced her husband, Matthew alias Matt, with whom they agreed to help the child get proper healthcare and survive the ordeal.
“When I met Kiano at the orphanage at 6 months old I heard that he was not expected to live and the doctors had said he was “failure to thrive”. He was struggling to breath and not feeding well and it seemed that everyone there was just waiting for him to die. I was overcome with emotion knowing his story and his miraculous survival despite being dumped at birth and even outliving his twin brother. I had wanted to be a mother for so long and it broke my heart to think that this innocent baby had been unwanted, discarded naked in a trash bag and left to die. I felt compelled to do everything I could to save his life and in the process fell in love with him,” narrates Ms Daisy.
They agreed to adopt the child, but had to undergo a moratorium on adoption since foreigners are always advised to apply for Legal Guardianship. They made the application through Children’s Case no. 213 of 2016.
However, prior to hearing for Guardianship, Jean Petty Legacy Home was under investigation due to several deaths attributed to negligence and poor care services to the children. Consequently, Jean Petty lost their license and Baby Kiano was committed to Mogra Children’s Home.
“We have been Kiano’s care providers for nearly 3 years, and we have been his Legal Guardians for over 2 years as appointed by the Nairobi Children’s Court,” says Daisy.
Between August 1, 2016 to August 13, 2016, baby Kiano was admitted in the hospital in the ICU for seven days before being transferred to the ward for five days. He was diagnosed with difficulty breathing, unresponsive, premature, severe pneumonia, gastroesophageal reflux disease and severe protein energy malnutrition. All hospital expenses were catered for by Daisy and her husband, who had already jetted into the country.
The couple, who did not have their own child due to infertility, continued to take care of the baby who resided at the Mogra Children’s Home.
On April 4, 2017 Matthew and Daisy were awarded Joint Legal Guardianship of Baby John by Nairobi Children’s Court.
However, this was the beginning of trouble for the couple and the child as Mogra became hostile and started making threatening visits to Daisy and Matthew’s residence.
They also made threatening visits to Daisy and Matthew’s lawyer ( D. Omari ). As a result, D.Omari advised Daisy and Matthew to cease direct communication with Mogra after instructing them to communicate through their lawyer D. Omari.
Mogra sought to take custody of Baby Kiano by making malicious allegations against Daisy in Court alleging that she was trying to violate the Guardianship Order by illegally taking Baby Kiano out of the Court’s jurisdiction.
On February 13, 2017 medical report from Consultant Paediatrician Dr Rashnik Ghalay confirmed Baby Kiano had complex medical needs that required “very meticulous, personalized care from someone who knows and understands him well.”
Mogra even used DCI officers to try and take the child from the couple with reports that he had gone missing, but the failed.
Daisy reached out to the Kenya National Commission of Human Rights (KNCHR), Cabine Secretary Ukur Yattani for help.
The condition for Baby Kiano was not getting any better, as on September 13, 2018 Kiano was rushed by ambulance M.P Shah Hospital, Westlands where he was immediately admitted to the ICU for uncontrolled seizures. He continued to seize for a total of six hours until he was induced into a coma to prevent brain damage.
His condition did not get any better, as medics advised for specialised treatment for the baby outside the country.
In October 2018, KNCHR sought appointment with CS Yattani to discuss his intervention to expedite travel for John Kiano for urgent medical treatment abroad. KNCHR Chair Kagwiria Mbogori presented John Kiano’s case to CS Yattani and asked him for either exemption from Moratorium for adoption or his support for the lifting of travel restrictions for the Guardianship.
CS Yatani ordered Advisory Committee on Child Adoption in Kenya for report within 5 days, before considering KNCHR’s request. As part of the report, Child Welfare Society of Kenya (CWSK) representatives interview Daisy at her home two times, once for four hours and again for a further five hours. However, no report was delivered to the CS over three months.
On November 2018 Matt was detained at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by Immigration Officers due to a letter submitted by CS Yatani at the request of CWSK.
He was held at JKIA for several hours before being transferred to Nyayo House for further questioning. All his possessions were confiscated was denied access to legal representation.
He was later released by Department of Immigration into the custody of the Children’s Department who continued to detain him for a total of 15.5 hours without food or water.
Several frustrations by Mogra through CWSK and rogue DCI officers made sure that Baby Kiano did not travel for treatment.
On April 4, 2019, 13 people mostly men violently forced their way into Mr Matt’s apartment and kidnapped sickly Kiano. They are suspected to be DCI officers, as shown in the video below.
“No warrant or court order for entry into our home was provided,” recalls Daisy.
The baby is yet to be found.
This story was adapted from the Kenyan Herald.