Two Nigerian nationals arrested in connection with the gruesome murder and dismemberment of a 20-year-old woman in Kenya, were arraigned before Chief Magistrate, Makadara Law Courts on Monday, January 22, 2024.
The mutilated body of Rita Waeni, a Jomo Kenyatta University and Technology (JKUAT) student was found in an apartment in the Roysambu area of Nairobi on January 14, 2024, with her head missing.
The body parts of the student, who was due to begin her fourth year in the university, were discovered inside a trash bag in the apartment by the caretaker.
Police could not immediately confirm the identity of the victim until the family came out to reveal that she was Waeni, who had left her aunt’s house in Syokimau to meet a friend.
A head suspected to be that of Rita, was recovered from a dam in Kiambaa, in Kiambu county on Sunday, January 21.
According to investigations by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the two suspects, William Ovie Opia and Johnbull Asbor, were living in Kenya illegally.
DCI said Opia’s passport had expired while Asbor did not have any travel documents at the time of his arrest.
Asbor told the detectives that he lost his passport two years ago.
The suspects were traced by the DCI’s Criminal Research and Intelligence Bureau (CRIB) detectives to a rented apartment in Ndenderu in Kiambu County where they were picked up on Sunday.
Detective constable Benjamin Wangila of Kasarani DCI offices told Makadara court on Monday that the suspects were living not very far from the area where Rita Waeni’s head was recovered.
A hatchet, butcher’s knife, a national identity card belonging to a Kenyan (name withheld), six mobile phones, three laptops, 10 SIM cards from different telecom services providers and other items were recovered at the house where the two suspects were living.
“The investigation team is seeking to obtain call data records for all the SIM cards and mobile phone numbers recovered from the respondents to ascertain whether they were involved in the murder,” Wangila stated in an affidavit filed in the court.
“The applicant requires adequate time to escort the respondents to the Government Chemist for extraction of their blood samples for DNA analysis and comparison against the samples that were extracted from the scene of crime.”
He said the suspects are flight risks since they don’t have a known fixed place of abode.
Wangila was seeking orders to hold the suspects for eight days at the Kasarani police station which were granted by Senior Principal Magistrate Agnes Mwangi of Makadara Law Courts.
They will be in custody until January 31.
The affidavit indicated that Opia bought a hatchet from an online vendor and he told investigators that he had bought it for self-defense.
Wangila said he is investigating a case of murder contrary to section 203 is read with section 204 of the Penal Code which was reported at Kasarani police station vide OB34/14/01/2024 by Priscila Maina, the owner of the short stay – rental apartment where Ms Waeni was killed.
Ms Maina who is in custody told the police that she had received information from the caretaker of the apartment that there were blood traces from her BnB which led her to a garbage collection point on the ground floor where body parts were found stashed in refuse bags.
Ms Maina is in custody for failure to register her tenant’s crucial details as required by the law, which would have helped the DCI to trace the murderer.
Waeni’s family was unable to identify her head yesterday at the City Mortuary although the DCI had said her head had been recovered at a dam in Kiambu on Sunday, January 21.
Records at the City Mortuary where the head had been taken indicated that it belonged to an unknown female adult.
A missing mobile phone that belonged to the deceased was also recovered at the scene.
The head was found covered in a sack and wrapped in a purple blouse, adding a sinister twist to the already gruesome scene.
A postmortem conducted on the body on Friday last week showed she had missing fingernails.
“This person who did all these also tried to clip off the fingernails for reasons which I might not be able to know but for us scientists when we see fingernails clipped off, we think probably the person was trying to hide evidence so that we are unable to get his DNA from the victim,” government pathologist Johansen Oduor told reporters after the exercise.
Meanwhile, in a statement on January 17, the family said that around 5:am on Sunday, her father received a message, demanding a Ksh. 500, 000 ransom within 24 hours for the release of the student.
Madukwe B. Nwabuisi is an accomplished journalist renown for his fearless reporting style and extensive expertise in the field. He is an investigative journalist, who has established himself as a kamikaze reporter.