The father of fugitive police officer Caroline Jemutai Kangogo — who died of suspected suicide on Friday — has disputed suspicions that his daughter could have been murdered, insisting that she took her own life.
This comes as Mzee Barnabas Korir, himself a former inspector of police, divulged more details about Kangogo’s last moments and how she sneaked into the family compound on a boda boda at around 10pm but was not seen by any family member until her lifeless body was discovered by her mother Leah during routine cleaning.
Mzee Kibor now says that from his own assessment of the scene, there is no indication of foul play that could point to murder.
“I do not like it when people go on with these insinuations that she might have been killed. In case you actually know for sure she was killed, then come forward and say so. But from what I see, this girl, my daughter, took her own life depending on how we found her,” said Mzee Kibor.
Locked from inside
This, he reckons, can be deduced from the fact that the bathroom where she was found, which is 40 metres from the main house, was locked from inside.
“There is no way someone could have brought the body and dumped it in that bathroom, but still have it locked from the inside where we found her body. She locked herself inside,” he told Nation.Africa.
The family has also revealed that it will not honour Kangogo’s death wish, found in a draft message on her phone that she be cremated. Her relatives have instead set her burial for Saturday, July 24.
Police have ruled that Kangogo’s death was an apparent suicide.
“It is suspected that she might have shot herself using the firearm from below the chin and the bullet exited on the head slightly above the left ear,” a police report said.
A Ceska pistol serial number G4670, which was cocked with a magazine loaded with eight rounds of ammunition - one in the chamber - one used cartridge and one bullet head were found on the scene.
She was found in a sitting position while hunched over and leaning against the bathroom wall. Her legs were outstretched while crossed and her face covered with a dark-green shawl from behind with her right hand lying on the floor of the bathroom with her thumb and index fingers holding the pistol.
There were no blood splatters on the bathroom wall.
The door was pushed back and could not bar anyone from accessing the bathroom and when her mother found her, she did not touch anything but immediately called the police.
With the confirmation that no family member interfered with the scene, and with the benefit of a photo of the scene itself, Law Society of Kenya president Nelson Havi has accused investigators of rushing to conclude it was a suicide.
“The media has been conscripted by DCI to run with the cover-up story ‘Caroline Kangogo commits suicide’. Who was the witness? When was the autopsy done? I remember telling special crimes boss on Tuesday, ‘I am sure you guys will eventually tell us that you found her dead’,” Mr Havi said on Twitter.
LSK had on Wednesday hired veteran lawyer John Khaminwa to facilitate Kangogo’s surrender.
Dr Khaminwa had sought court protection for Kangogo not to be placed under custody if she surrendered, but instead be released on bail.
Others who have doubted the suicide story include lawyer Cliff Ombeta and Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr.
“This lady did not commit suicide. Gun placed in hand unlike where it would be because of the recoil. Blood splatter and drag would not be at the front. Shows she was brought there and left to bleed. Placing of the cover on the head? The yellow Jersey still?” Mr Ombeta said on Twitter.
Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula said: “Cpl Caroline Kangogo is dead from an alleged suicide. This should not bring a closure to investigations as to who killed the two men associated with her. We might never know her side of the story! In the complex world of crime, there could be a third force!!”
But speaking at his Iten home, Mzee Kibor seemed to believe all had been figured out, including the reason there was no blood splatter.
“When the bullet exited, it couldn’t have splattered blood on the wall because looking at the bullet, it went in on the chin, and exited through the left ear,” he said.
“She shot from the right and it went up, to the left. It could not have splattered because the bullet would have had to come out at the front, from behind,” explained Mzee Kibor, who also disputed that the police officer was left-handed, saying she was, indeed, right-handed.
Dropped off by boda boda
In Kangogo’s last moments, Mzee Kibor said she was dropped off by a boda boda rider around 10pm on Thursday, before her body was found the next day.
“This young man did not know he was carrying my daughter. He only says she asked him to drop her off about 50 metres from the house before she made her way here,” Mzee Kibor.
The family says they did not see or hear the police officer come in, and neither did they hear the gunshot that killed her in their family bathroom.
But even as he stayed convinced that the police officer took her own life, Mzee Kibor insisted she was still innocent until proven guilty on the murders of colleague Constable John Ogweno and businessman Peter Njiru Ndwiga, for which she was being sought before her death.
“No one has proven that my daughter was behind those murders. No one has said it, because as a family we were always hoping she will come home, so we can discuss it and know if she did it, and if yes, why,” said Mzee Kibor.
Kangogo’s father also spoke about the trove of text messages detectives believe were the police officer’s suicide note, saying he could not verify their authenticity.
All he knows, he said, is that there was a phone at the scene, but that it had no SIM card.
In the text messages, Kangogo confesses to a plot to kill her husband, with whom she had two children.
Kangogo said she watched the man, a senior officer in Mombasa, for days but that "I sympathised with the kids. I forgave you."
On the Juja-based businessman Ndwiga, Kangogo had no remorse, according to the texts, saying he had conned her of Sh1.5 million in a car deal she said required her to borrow Sh300,000 from her father to finance.
She expressed love for Mr Ogweno, the police officer she was accused of killing and with whom she was in a romantic relationship.
"For you my love John Ogweno, our love was made in heaven that's why since Monday, a day after the incident, you always embrace me with love and forgiveness and tell me it is well with your soul despite living in separate worlds. May our kids live in peace, love, forgiveness, success and being God-fearing. Rest well and see you soon," said Kangogo in the texts.
The police officer said she had been disowned by her father, Mr Kibor, after her troubles with her husband.
"Depression is real, please assist those you know. My divorce pushed me to be inhuman. My father disowned me due to a failed marriage. My husband was allegedly first in calling my father and my brother to cover up his mistakes and they all fell into his trap," she said.
She accused her husband of infidelity, which she said caused her anguish.
Alleged sexual harassment
She also alleged sexual harassment at her Nakuru work station.
And her final wishes? Kangogo wanted to be cremated, wearing her wedding dress.
"To my people, it's my wedding day - dress me in a white gown that my husband could not afford. To my parents, I am requesting my body to be cremated to end your suffering. Remember to take good care of my children. For the things in Kasarani, hire movers for safe delivery here," she said.
Meanwhile, detectives have now been sent to Kangogo’s Iten home to ascertain the circumstances of her death and trace her last moments.