Husband eulogies slain Kenyan Olympic champion’s daughter
When Swiss Florian Whali- nicknamed the ‘White Kenyan’- posed with his wife Faith Chepkosgei Korir for a photo at the scenic Kerio View Resort in Iten where the famous rift valley provides a breathtaking backdrop a fortnight ago, little did he know it would be the last time their love would be captured in picture for eternity.
Six days later, Chepkosgei, the first daughter of Kenyan 1984 Olympics 3000m steeplechase champion Justus Korir, was brutally plucked at her prime by a ruthless killer in her apartment in Switzerland, far away from the picturesque land she called home.
Her senseless murder last Wednesday, said to have been committed by a distant relative whom she welcomed to her home, has shocked an entire nation and robbed Wahli and their young son, Kenny Kigen Florian who is about to turn four of a loving wife and mother.
“She was a very good and careful mother, a fighter in life to success, very intelligent, always smiling but very discreet. She kept her problems to herself to manage alone.
“She adapted to new places very quickly, such as speaking French. We miss her too much I cannot believe,” the gutted Whali told Citizen Digital from Switzerland where he rushed following the ghastly incident.
Their last photo was snapped by the former manager of Korir who won gold for Kenya at the Los Angeles Olympics Games as yet another celebration of a blissful marriage.
But now, the picture has turned to an everlasting painful reminder to the husband of the huge void left in their lives and in tribute, Wahli has now pinned it as a profile on all his social media accounts as well as message sharing WhatsApp.
Chepkosgei will be laid to rest in her adopted nation with the funeral service set to be held in 2735 Bévilard at the local protestant church at 1:45 pm local time (+3GMT) on Monday with her father and some members of their family also making the trip to Switzerland for the burial.
Her husband shared with Citizen Digital the anguish those who knew the jovial Chepkosgei are going through as they struggle to come to terms with an act manufactured at the pits of hell.
“It’s too tragic and many question remain because she was so happy,” Whali mourned.
He had been left in Kenya with the retired Olympics gold medallist Korir and their young son to oversee the construction of their rural home in Nandi County when Chepkosgei travelled to Switzerland last Sunday.
“There was no other from the family in Switzerland, just Faith who had to return before me because she was working on Tuesday and I was to travel on Saturday,” Whali recounted.
However, things took a tragic turn the following evening when the Bernese Cantonal police were called to their apartment by neighbours following a violent dispute at the Rue Jolimont in Reconvilier.
The perpetrator was found at the scene and showed no signs of resistance when he was arrested. A knife was also found at the scene but the police have not confirmed whether it was the weapon used.
The 30 year-old geriatric nurse and her husband are well known for their love for running and for hosting most of Kenya’s elite runners coming to attend the Morat-Friborg Marathon.
According to the reports, Chepkosgei had made a call to her in-laws shortly before her death, a call the in-laws perceived as one for help.
An autopsy conducted by the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bern said she succumbed to serious injuries caused by a blunt object.
“I cannot talk about it because the matter is still under investigation. The killer is an American citizen from US marines and a distant relative of my wife,” the grieving husband narrated.
“I got the sad news from the Swiss police immediately after her death. And I knew already she was in danger when my sister called me just after calling the police,” heartbroken Wahli continued.
Citizen Digital contacted Bernese Cantonal police for an update on the investigation.
“Following the discovery of the deceased at Reconvilier in Switzerland on the 25th of January 2017, we have released two press releases: Female Murder victim published on January 26, 2017 and New information on the murder – Victim identified
“The victim was a 30 year old female of Kenyan origin. The alleged perpetrator was apprehended by Police officers from Cantonale Bernoise inside the apartment and he did not resist arrest. He is an American citizen aged 31 years
“Preliminary investigations established that the young woman lived in the apartment where she was found dead. The deceased and the alleged perpetrator are believed to have known each other. The suspect is currently in custody and will be arraigned in court.
“For privacy concerns, no further information will be divulged in regards to the victim and the alleged perpetrator,” the Bernoise police statement translated from French that was sent to Citizen Digital on Thursday read in full.
Nevertheless, the slain daughter of a Kenyan hero managed to touch the lives of many, mostly athletes from her nation of birth whom together with her husband, opened her doors and welcomed with open hands at the home she was violently killed.
Bernard Matheka, who ran for Kenya at the 2005 IAAF World Youth, 2006 IAAF World Cross and the 2007 Africa Championships, is one of the main beneficiaries of Chepkosgei’s generosity.
“It’s really so sad,” the athlete who has a photo of the deceased as his profile picture began.
“They have accommodated me in Switzerland for more than five years and I lived with them very well. In fact, I was so shocked when I received the sad news.
“I was at Kapsabet when we got the news with her husband. I will really miss all what she used to do for me when I was in Switzerland, so sad…..,” Matheka went on, trailing off when overwhelmed with grief.
“In 2010, Peter Pfester a Swiss national approached Florian and Chepkosgei and requested whether they would start to accommodate some athletes and they said it was okay. That is when I started living with the since 2011 to date and Florian is really my friend, we share a lot men, I’m so sad am really shocked and short of words,” the 2:21:28 career best marathoner added.
“They take us to races everywhere in Switzerland every Saturday. When I was short of money, my manager would send me to them now that I live in Switzerland for six months every year since 2011.
“So, I know them as my very close friends and we share a lot and that is why it’s so painful men,” Matheka shared.
Due to the difficultly of entering runners to Swiss races, Florian and Chepkosgei only had two athletes from Kenya to take care of with the other being Kenyan Deaflympics star Daniel Kiptum.
Kiptum has been residing with Florian since 2006 whenever in Switzerland with the former also organising races for him.
Matheka and his family travelled to Kapsabet to meet the deceased and her family only a week before the gruesome killing.
And just like his spouse Florian, he too immortalised the moment with a photo.
That is now also a timeless reminder of an act so cruel that it could have been committed by the devil himself, let alone a human being.
-Translation by Bernard Ndong