The body of a 28-year-old Kirinyaga woman, who was on Tuesday night (June 23) killed by her boyfriend, has been exhumed.
The deceased has been identified as Mary Wanjiku, overruling earlier speculations that she was a Tanzanian national. Her family says she worked as a casual labourer in Kagio Town, Kirinyaga County.
Wanjiku was attacked using crude weapons, set ablaze and buried in a shallow grave by her alleged boyfriend Murimi Wanjobi, 35, who is at large. The incident happened at Kiieni Village in Kirinyaga Central.
On Friday morning (June 26), police obtained a court order Okaying the exhumation of her body.
The one-hour exercise led by Kirinyaga Central Sub-County Commissioner Daniel Ndege, area OCPD Doreen Oduor, and medical officers from Kerugoya County Referral Hospital, yielded shocking discoveries: Wanjiku’s body had been cut into pieces, her stomach ripped and her intestines removed.
Police said the vicenarian “died a painful death”.
“She was set alight while naked,” said Oduor, revealing that the suspect wrapped the victim in a car tyre before striking a matchstick.
According to Commissioner Ndege, after the exhumation, the woman’s family positively identified her as Mary Wanjiku.
As early as 6am Friday, tens of residents had flocked to the grave, where Murimi had buried Wanjiku, to witness the exhumation exercise.
Wanjiku’s mother, Beatrice Kabari Mugo, collapsed when she discovered it was her daughter who had been brutally killed. Mugo was taken to hospital.
Police suspect that the suspect, Murimi, could be a serial killer, who has murdered several women in the past.
Neighbours claimed several women in the locality have, in the recent past, disappeared mysteriously, with some of them never to be found again. They are now suspecting Murimi could be behind the mysterious disappearances and deaths of youthful women in the area.
“We would investigate allegations that several women from Kirinyaga Central went missing in unexplained circumstances, only for some of them to be discovered dead,” said Commissioner Ndege.
Several neighbours, who spoke to K24 Digital, painted the picture of a quiet Murimi, “who was shy around women”.
“We are dealing with a suspect who, before the eyes of right-thing members of the society, was innocent and harmless. Behind the closed doors, it seems he was a blood-thirsty killer who targeted women,” said Ndege.
Wanjiku’s body was taken to Kerugoya County Referral Hospital morgue awaiting postmortem.
Murimi, a landscape designer, arrived at his Kirinyaga home on Tuesday evening in the company of Wanjiku, who neighbours were unfamiliar with at the time. They, actually, speculated that Wanjiku was a Tanzanian national.
On Wednesday, June 24, the 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 35-year-old 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.