Police in Kirinyaga have launched a hunt for a 35-year-old man accused of killing his 28-year-old girlfriend on Tuesday night (June 23).
The suspect, Murimi Wanjobi, is said to have fatally attacked the victim with crude weapons before setting her body on fire and burying it in a shallow grave in Kiieni Village in Kirinyaga Central Constituency.
Murimi, a landscape designer, arrived at his Kirinyaga home on Tuesday evening in the company of his lover, a Tanzanian native, neighbours said.
On Wednesday, June 24, neighbours saw him digging what looked like a grave in his compound. On being asked, Murimi said he was digging a pit to put up a toilet.
Kirinyaga Central Sub-County Police Commander, Doreen Oduor, told K24 Digital that the suspect killed his lover in his two-bedroom house following a relationship conflict.
“He, thereafter, set her body on fire and buried the 28-year-old woman in the grave he had dug earlier Wednesday,” said Oduor.
The area police boss said Murimi covered his girlfriend’s body in pieces of clothes and wrapped it around a car tyre, which he set alight.
Blood stains were also spotted in the suspect’s bedroom, with authorities suspecting the blood could have spattered when Murimi was attacking his partner with crude weapons.
Neighbours painted a picture of a level-headed and well-behaved Murimi, saying they were shocked to be told that he had killed someone.
Murimi’s father, Wanjobi Gachoki, told police that at 7pm Wednesday, he heard pop sounds emanating from his son’s compound.
“When I went to establish the cause of the pop sounds, I saw pieces of clothes and a car tyre burning. I assumed my son was getting rid of waste,” he said, adding: “As a result, I did not go closer to see the contents covered in the pieces of clothes and tyre.”
On Thursday morning, Gachoki said he saw the pit that his son had dug on Wednesday had been filled.
“Suspecting that something was wrong, I went and dug out sections of the covered pit. I was shocked to see a human leg in the shallow grave. Confused, I rushed to the Kirinyaga Central Police Station, where I reported the incident,” he said.
Police, who arrived at the scene, threw a cordon around the suspect’s compound, while waiting for a court order to okay the exhumation of the contents of the grave.
After obtaining the court order, police on Friday morning (June 26) exhumed the grave and removed the charred remains of a female human being.
“After committing the crime, the suspect escaped to an unknown destination. The last time we traced his phone signal, it was located in Wanguru Town in Mwea. However, he has since switched off his mobile device,” said OCPD Doreen Oduor, adding: “Nonetheless, we are committed to arresting and prosecuting him.”
The suspect’s father, Wanjobi Gachoki, said his son had never introduced any woman to them as his fiancée.
“We do not know the identity of the deceased. I only heard from my son’s neighbours that the woman is a Tanzanian national. How she travelled from Tanzania to Kirinyaga, Kenya remains a mystery,” said Gachoki.
Nancy Wanjira, who is the suspect’s neighbour and former schoolmate, described the suspect as a “quiet person, who was shy around girls”.
“I hardly saw him in the company of ladies. Very few, if not none of the neighbours, knew he had a girlfriend. We are shocked to hear he killed his said-lover,” said Wanjira.