Detectives on Tuesday exhumed 19 more bodies at Shakahola Forest, marking the highest number of findings so far. This brings the grim death toll from the Shakahola starvation cult to a staggering 303.
While the diligent search for survivors continued, no survivors were rescued. The third phase of exhumation involved a meticulous effort to locate and document mass graves within the expansive 325-hectare bushland situated inland from the Indian Ocean town of Malindi.
Although starvation appears to be the primary cause of death, autopsies conducted by government authorities have unveiled distressing details. Shockingly, some victims, including innocent children, were found to have been subjected to acts of strangulation, physical abuse, and suffocation.
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According to official police records, 95 people have been successfuly rescued from the forest, while an alarming 613 people are missing.
Investigators strongly suspect that a significant majority of the bodies discovered are associated with Paul Mackenzie, a former taxi driver who later assumed the role of a preacher.
Mackenzie stands accused of compelling his followers to embrace a macabre fate of self-imposed starvation, all in the misguided belief of “meeting Jesus”.