Eliud Ibirthi holds a photo of his son, Kelvin | Matt Driscoll firstname.lastname@example.org
A homeless Kenyan man was found dead in a snow-covered field in Tacoma, Washington three weeks ago, and his family recently shared their grief with a local media outlet. The body of Kelvin Ibirithi, 34, was found in a snow-covered field on the morning of Sunday, February 10th after a snow storm in the area.
Ibirithi’s parents recently shared with The News Tribune their grief and the circumstances that led their son to homelessness.
Eliud Ibirithi, Kelvin’s father, told The News Tribune’s Matt Driscoll that he, his wife Sylvia Githiri and their three sons moved to the United States from Kenya about 15 years ago. They first settled in Delaware before Eluid and his son moved to Tacoma, Washington.
Eluid says Kelvin, who had studied ayurvedic medicine in Kenya, was a hardworking young man and worked in the service industry for much of the time they lived together in Tacoma. Eluid however says his son started drinking heavily, stopped working, and started coming to the home they shared less and less, eventually becoming homeless. “When we came here is when he started going out. I didn’t really approve. I didn’t like the company he was involving himself with. They were characters that I did not approve of,” Eliud tells Matt. Eventually Kelvin became homeless.
Both Eliud and Sylvia say over the last several years they tried to take their son back in and get him help with his addiction, but their attempts proved unsuccessful. Elid says for the least year or so, he has spent a lot of time looking for his son on the streets and praying for him.
“Even when I was being informed by the officer that he had passed away, I was planning to go look for him,” Eliud tells The News Tribune.
“Drinking became a problem. I told him as soon as he improved I would send him back to school. He said that’s what he wanted. All the time he would say, ‘I’ll stop. I’m not drinking.’ He lived in denial,” adds Eliud.
“We were trying to get him into rehab, but we were not able to. It was too hards,” Kelvin mother Sylvia, who still ives in Delaware.
On the morning on Sunday, February 10th, 73-year-old John Pinich discovered Kelvin’s body in his field. John, who knew Kelvin because he[Kelvin] used to do odd jobs for him, called 911. Tacoma Police said they found Kelvn’s body lying facedown, with an empty liquor bottle nearby. They added that there were no footprints in the snow around Kelvin’s body.
The cause of death has not yet been determined, with the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s office saying it could be months before an official cause is determined.
Kelvin was laid to rest on February 20th in Tacoma, with the congregation of Diaspora Community of Faith Church in Tacoma - where Eliud also attends - raising more than $20,000 towards the burial.