Mystery of Nairobi man who left home in February never to return
A family in Riruta, Nairobi County, is in agony over the mysterious disappearance of a 46-year-old man who was last seen in February this year.
The man, Joshua Gichuki Mwangi, left his home on February 3 this year at 8pm to help a neighbour that supposedly had a sick relative; the mystery behind his disappearance has left investigators confused.
Christine Njoki has not seen her husband for 8 months now. Her husband of 16 years walked into the dark night, never to return. On the fateful night, she, her husband and their 3 children were home, relaxing just before dinner.
“Around 7.30pm akapigiwa simu, nilimsikia akisema, unataka nikupelekee bibi hospitali? Alafu akasema niko kwa nyumba,” recalls Njoki.
Thirty minutes later, a man later identified as Dennis Ndubi Maunda walked into their homestead and, according to Njoki, asked “hapa ni kwa Baba Esther?”
Njoki says the man did not stay for long, her husband’s request for him to join them for dinner was turned down as Dennis seemed desperate to rush his wife to hospital.
Seated next to the door, Dennis seemed familiar to her husband, who introduced him as a neighbor, but Njoki says she had never seen the man in the neighborhood.
“It was raining heavily so I gave him (husband) a kikoi ajifunike juu ya baridi,” she adds.
It was not until the next day that she got word: their car, a silver Toyota Succeed, was found abandoned along Limuru Road, at an open carwash in Ruaka, opposite the Rosslyn Riviera, with one door unlocked.
“The front number plate was bent. Inside there were 3 kofias and 1 kikoi… ile nilimpatia akitoka kwa nyumba,” narrates Njoki.
She then filed a missing persons report at Kabete Police Station. Her husband was still unreachable on phone. Three days later, a woman came to her home asking about the whereabouts of her own husband, Ben.
“She (the woman) said the same time my husband left they went and picked up Ben,” says Njoki.
Ben was well known to them as their former tenant, and according to Ben’s widow, he left their house on the fateful evening claiming that he was going to take a sick woman to hospital.
Ben’s body was found lying at the City Mortuary on February 20; the body was booked in on the morning of February 4; just a day after he left his home.
“Body was found around Mai Mahiu escarpment. Watu waliona gari walisema ilisimama ikarusha kitu nje. Walipoenda kuangalia wakapata mwili, wakaita polisi wa Ngobi Police Post ambao walichukua mwili,” adds Njoki.
Investigators tracked Dennis days after Njoki filed a missing persons report; he has no wife and lives in Kahawa West.
Upon questioning, Dennis admitted that he did not have a sickly wife on the fateful night, and that neither was he a neighbour. He claimed Ben sent him to Gichuki’s house to fetch him.
He was released but later re-arrested and charged with Ben’s murder in July. He was released on bond earlier this month.
However, Njoki’s search for her husband seems to have hit a dead end. Despite tens of letters to the DCI, DPP, IPOA, Interior ministry and the Ombudsman complaining of slow progress on the investigation of her husband’s disappearance, nothing has been forthcoming.
“Walisema there are 5 more suspects they are pursuing but hawajashikwa,” she says.
Investigators privy to the case have remained mum on the status of the investigation. However, Njoki believes her husband is still alive.
“Sijawahi sikia ndani ya moyo wangu amefariki, nikiomba tu naona atarudi nyumbani,” she adds.
They were married for 16 years, and for the last 8 months, it has been an agonizing wait for any information on the whereabouts of 46 year old Joshua Gichuki Mwangi.