Police officers investigating the murder of a 20-year-old girl in a short-term rental room in Roysambu, Nairobi, are grappling with the mystery of her missing head.
Body parts identified as those of Rita Waeni Muendo, a fourth-year university student, were found inside the room near the popular TRM shopping mall last Sunday, wrapped in papers.
According to the police, it has been revealed that the perpetrators used a machete to dismember her body, with her family linking the gruesome incident to a kidnapping for ransom.
In a statement to the media on Wednesday, the family spokesperson, Dr. Lilian Mutea, said Waeni was a fourth-year student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
“On Saturday, our sister Rita Waeni Muendo left her aunt’s house in Syokimau, Machakos, to meet her friend. On Sunday, at eleven in the morning, her father received a message from her phone number demanding a ransom of Ksh 500,000 within 24 hours for her release,” the family statement said.
She stated that the family reported to the police, and an investigation was initiated, with the family receiving two more messages demanding ransom.
What puzzles the family is that the senders of these messages did not provide further details or an opportunity to consider making the payment.
“The family did not receive more information about the ransom or an opportunity to pay it. Furthermore, some demands for payment were made when she had already been murdered,” the statement added.
The family expressed sorrow over the brutal murder of their sister, stating that, “After searching tirelessly without success, in collaboration with the DCI, we identified our daughter as the girl brutally murdered on Sunday morning near Thika Road Mall (TRM) on January 14. We believe she was lured by her murderer, who also attempted to extort money from her family even after killing her.”
Mutea said the family is devastated by the loss of Waeni, especially the brutality of her murder.
“Her parents, siblings, and our entire family have not accepted this unfortunate event. Our daughter, Waeni, was an intelligent and bright girl beyond her years. She was a person with a good heart and caring, known for her generosity, laughter, and ability to brighten wherever she went.”
On Wednesday, investigators probing the gruesome murder said they are holding three suspects.
On Tuesday, a man believed to be the prime suspect in the murder of the girl was apprehended at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) as he was about to leave the country, revealing that the victim and her killer had met on an online platform.
Police discovered that the phone number used to rent the room was used in the Ruaka area four days before the murder.
Two other suspects were arrested, and they continue to assist the police in the investigation.
Neighbors of the death house were questioned by investigators to determine if they heard any unusual noises.
It is suspected that the murderer used fake documents to register the phone line in the name of the deceased, then used it to rent the room to avoid detection.
Police suspect that the perpetrators drugged the victim before dismembering her body in the bathroom of the rented room.
“We suspect that the murderer gave the woman drugs before killing her. This happened inside the bathroom of the house she had rented,” sources involved in the investigation said.