Mystery over 12-year-old found dead in hotel pool
KIGALI - Unclear circumstances surround the death of a 12-year old girl, Elsa Niyitegeka, whose body was found floating on the swimming pool of Laico Umubano Hotel, two days after she disappeared.
Niyitegeka, left her Kacyiru home on Sunday, February 13, and headed to Laico to swim but never returned home. Two days later, after a desperate search, her body was found in the hotel’s swimming pool still wearing her swimming costume.
According to the mother of the deceased, Nadia Ndikumana, on the ill-fated day, Niyitegeka went for her routine swimming lessons at the hotel but never returned at 6 p.m. as usual.
The parents contacted the trainer at the hotel who confirmed that the girl had left after her lesson.
“We looked everywhere; all hospitals and police stations,” Ndikumana narrated.
“Two days after we had desperately searched everywhere, we were told there was a body found in the swimming pool of the hotel. I identified my daughter’s body which had been taken to the Police hospital for autopsy,” a tearful Ndikumana added.
What puzzled the mother was how a body of a 12-year old can stay for two days in a swimming pool used on a daily basis, without being noticed.
“I sense something sinister. I suspect my daughter was killed by unknown people around the hotel and later dumped the body in the pool. Otherwise how can a body go unnoticed for two days in a swimming pool people use and is attended to everyday?” she said.
“We recovered the small pouch - which Elsa was carrying - at the reception of the swimming pool and when we asked, they said ‘we thought someone had misplaced it’,” Ndikumana added.
Police spokesperson Supt. Theos Badege, said preliminary investigations indicate this could have been an accident.
“Post mortem results show that the child drowned. It is not true that she was thrown in the pool after her death,” Badege said.
He said that they have already sent the case to prosecution. Police blames carelessness of both the trainer and hotel management.
The hotel management insists it is not responsible for any accidents or death that occurs in the swimming pool.
The hotel agreed to pay hospital and autopsy bills but said it could not meet burial expenses.
The pool is currently closed.