The Police in Kenya have arrested two Nigerian nationals suspected of murdering and dismembering 20-year-old Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) student, Rita Waeni, in an apartment.
The gruesome crime sparked outrage and a frantic search for the perpetrators, Kenya’s The Nation Media Group reported on its website on Monday.
The suspects, identified as William Ovie Opia and Johnbull Asbor, were living illegally in Kenya. Opia’s passport had expired, and Asbor claimed he lost his travel documents two years ago.
According to the newspaper, DCI detectives found the pair hiding in an apartment in Ndenderu, Kiambu County, not far from where Waeni’s head was later recovered.
DCI’s Criminal Research and Intelligence Bureau (CRIB) traced the suspects based on leads and evidence gathered from the Kasarani crime scene.
Constable Benjamin Wangila of Kasarani DCI offices told a Makadara court that the suspects’ proximity to the body parts’ discovery further strengthened the case against them.
A chilling picture emerged as police detailed the items recovered from the suspects’ hideout: a hatchet, a butcher’s knife, a Kenyan national ID—belonging to an unknown individual, six mobile phones, three laptops, 10 SIM cards, and other items.
“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,” the paper quoted Constable Benjamin Wangila of Kasarani DCI offices as saying in an affidavit filed to the court.
Authorities will analyse call data from these devices to establish the suspects’ involvement in the murder, the operatives said.
Wangila stated in a court affidavit that obtaining blood samples for DNA analysis and comparison against crime scene samples is crucial.
He also expressed concerns about the suspects being flight risks due to their lack of legal residency and fixed address. Senior Principal Magistrate Agnes Mwangi of Makadara Law Courts granted an eight-day detention order for the suspects at the Kasarani police station.
The affidavit revealed that Opia allegedly bought the hatchet online for self-defense. The investigation into Waeni’s murder remains ongoing, with authorities seeking to understand the motive and reconstruct the events leading to her tragic demise.
Waeni’s family was unable to identify her head at the City Mortuary on Monday, despite DCI confirming its recovery from a Kiambu dam on Sunday.
Records reportedly listed the head as belonging to an unknown female adult, adding further confusion and pain to the grieving family. A missing phone belonging to Waeni was also found at the crime scene.
The discovery of Waeni’s head, covered in a sack and wrapped in a purple blouse, sent shockwaves through the community and intensified the search for her killers.