By NJOKI CHEGE
Police in Australia are investigating the death of a Kenyan woman and her two children who perished in a fire in their home in Canberra.

Anne Wachera Muhoro, 45, and her two children, eight-year-old Ezvin and five-year-old Furaha, died on the morning of February 19 after their house in Bonner caught fire in mysterious circumstances.

In a story that has captured the Australian media’s attention and is covered widely in the major news websites, police are now appealing to the public to provide any information that might help the investigations.

Police are particularly appealing to anyone who might have dash-cam footage from the estate between midnight of Sunday, February 18 and 8.45 am on Monday, February 19.

CHILD CUSTODY BATTLE

Ms Muhoro, who worked as a software engineer in Canberra, was scheduled to attend a child custody hearing at 11.30 am at the Family Court, but failed to show up.

The applicant in the court matter is the father of the children who was seeking to change the child custody arrangements between him and his estranged wife.

It is reported that the fire crews and emergency services found the remains of Ms Muhoro and her two children earlier that morning at 8.30 am.

Preliminary investigations by Australian police indicated that the fire was “deliberately lit” and Detective Superintendent Scott Moller has promised to follow all leads to get to the bottom of the matter.

One man was arrested the day after the fire, but was later released.

It is not yet clear if the police will be treating the matter as murder or murder-suicide.

However, Detective Moller told Australian media that police were exploring the possibility of the three persons having died before the fire.

KEPT TO HERSELF

Neighbours who live near Ms Muhoro in Peter Coppin Street described her as a woman who kept to herself and did not interact much with her neighbours.

A neighbour, Brendan O’Brien, told a local news station that there was not much activity from Ms Muhoro’s house and was surprised to find that there were children in the house.

In 2011, a man using the name George Munene and profile name Georgie Low filed an online petition on a website (change.org) against Anne Wachera Muhoro, decrying the denial of 50/50 child custody of their son, Ezvin Munene Mugera, then two-and-a-half years old.

In the short petition, George says: “Custody battles are rife and allegations of domestic violence have been misused (by a few women) to gain an upper hand in custody and property settlement battles.”

George also complained about losing his home, which cost AUD0.6 million (Sh47.7 million).