COLD-BLOODED MURDER

Five arrested as body of abducted woman identified in morgue

Preliminary findings show she was tortured before being killed and her body dumped in a thicket in Kajiado

In Summary
  • She had withdrawn Sh350,000 from a bank in Nairobi, before proceeding to meet one of the suspects at Ngara for a business deal.
  • Wanjiku was forced into a black Toyota Crown car in which one of the suspects was waiting; she was sandwiched by the other suspects and handcuffed.

The family and friends of a 38-year-old woman abducted a week ago are in shock and pain after they identified her body at a Kajiado mortuary.

Caroline Wanjiku Maina was reported to have been abducted by unknown persons one week ago before the matter was reported to the police. Preliminary findings show she was tortured before being killed and her body dumped in a thicket in Kajiado.

The body was discovered by locals who alerted the police. She wore the same clothes she had when she went missing, police said. It was swollen then and seemed to have been at the scene for more than a day.

Suspects Mercy Gitiri Mongo, Edwin Odiwuor, Samuel Adinda and Stevenson Ouma have been arrested. Officers also nabbed another suspect at the weekend.

The family had sought help to trace her after she went missing. In the February 13 report at Muthangari Police Station, Wanjiku’s Toyota Axio car was found abandoned in Nairobi’s Kawangware area near Gatina Primary School, a day after she went missing.

The case was then taken over by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Nairobi Area Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau working alongside Dagoretti-based counterparts, who swung into action, arresting four suspects.

Heightened investigations uncovered that prior to the victim’s disappearance, she had withdrawn Sh350,000 from a bank in Nairobi, before proceeding to Ngara for a business deal.

The woman worked at a local bank. She was also a businesswoman running a salon along Ring Road, Nairobi. Innocently driving into her deathtrap, Wanjiku had made a call to a female friend, explaining her meeting with one of the suspects who was to guide her into boosting her Stima Sacco shares with the withdrawn amount.

But once at Ngara, she was forced into a black Toyota Crown car in which one of the suspects was waiting. She was sandwiched by the other suspects and handcuffed. Investigators are also probing reports that the death could have been a business deal gone sour with a local contractor and a government agency—Sh40 million having been paid but never reached the intended recipients. 

The family had circulated posters with her pictures and details seeking public help to trace her whereabouts. After the suspects were arrested, the team handling the case escorted two of them to Kajiado’s Paranai area, being the scene where they allegedly dumped Wanjiku’s body after torturing her to death.

The detectives said a pair of handcuffs used to restrain the deceased, her company stamp stolen from her car and a surgical face mask believed to have been worn by her was recovered. Police were then working to identify the body.

Accompanied by Wanjiku’s younger sister Rose, the team then proceeded to Kajiado Hospital mortuary, where she (the sister) identified Wanjiku’s body, reported to have been collected from a thicket on February 15. The body had physical wounds on both wrists, with the eyes gouged out of their sockets. 

The body was moved to the Kenyatta University mortuary where a postmortem is planned to establish how she died. Another Mercedes-Benz car believed to have been used to dump the body has since been recovered at the home of one of the suspects.

With investigations ongoing, the four suspects are pending arraignment for murder. A magistrate in Kibera allowed police to detain the suspects for 10 days as they complete their investigations into the gruesome murder.

DCI chief George Kinoti said they are pursuing more leads. “We will gather more with time. This was a cold-blooded murder.”

The incident comes weeks after a lawyer was also abducted from Nairobi's South C area by unknown people. The family of Benson Njau Kayai had reported to police he had been missing since February 7 when he was apparently abducted along Muhoho Avenue in South C, Nairobi.

Njau, 54, is a Nairobi-based advocate and practised conveyancing, property law, family law, commercial law and other issues. No arrest has been made so far, but police say they are investigating.