Police probe rape in gruesome murder of woman inside Embu Catholic Church centre

 Josephine Karimi,  24, who was found dead in a pit latrine at Catholic Women Association (CWA) centre in Kiaragana, Embu.

Photo credit: Courtesy

A court has allowed police to detain a casual labourer suspected of murdering a Catholic Church worker for 14 days to allow them to complete their investigation.

Josephine Karimi, 24, was found brutally murdered and her body dumped in a disused pit latrine at the St Mary's Catholic Women Association (CWA) centre in Kiaragana, Embu County, where she worked as an office secretary.

Detectives arrested Mr Boniface Yakulula in connection with the murder after he led them to the scene.

"It was the suspect who told us he knew where the deceased was," said a senior police officer who declined to be quoted due to the sensitivity of the matter.

"The motive was rape, the assailant took advantage of the fact that the woman was alone in the CWA centre to attack and rape her," the officer alleged.

Onlookers at the Catholic Women Association (CWA) centre in Kiaragana, Embu, where a woman was found dead in a disused pit latrine. The woman worked as a secretary at the centre.

Photo credit: George Munene | Nation Media Group

Preliminary investigations revealed that the woman had bruises on her neck and hands.

"It appears that the woman was trying to defend herself from the attacker because she had bruises on her hands," the officer added.

Lived in separate houses

According to detectives, Karimi and Mr Yakulula lived in separate houses within the centre, which is run by the Catholic Diocese of Embu.

It is suspected that the woman was attacked in the early hours of Thursday last week before she was murdered and her body thrown into a pit to cover up the evidence.

The suspect, a school dropout, was employed at the centre last year to clear bushes and look after cows, among other menial tasks.

Karimi had landed a new job and had only worked at the centre for a week when she was killed.

According to her family, Karimi went missing on June 28.

That Wednesday, she had lunch with her mother and returned to work.

The next day, her family became suspicious when calls to her mobile phone did not go through. They had called to check on their daughter and found her phone switched off.

The family later reported the matter to the Runyenjes police station and recorded a statement. 

Karimi's body was found five days later in a disused pit latrine at the centre.

"When we did not see our daughter at the centre, I personally reported the matter to the police and detectives immediately started investigations," said Mr Simon Kivuti Gatumu, Karimi's father.

Did not deserve to die in pain

The family described the late Karimi as a humble and hardworking person who did not deserve to die in pain.

Police move the body of the woman from Catholic Women Association (CWA) centre in Kiaragana, Embu, where she was found dead in a disused pit latrine.

Photo credit: George Munene | Nation Media Group

They said memories of Karimi would remain etched on their minds forever.

"What we want is justice. The assailants should pay for the sins they have committed," said another family member.

On Wednesday, July 5, a Runyenjes court allowed police to hold Mr Yakulula for 14 days to allow detectives time to complete their investigations.

Resident Magistrate Sharon Ouko ordered the suspect's detention following an application by investigating officer Nassir Omar.

Mr Omar told the court that more time was needed for a thorough investigation into the gruesome murder, for the suspect to be taken to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and for the file to be forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) for instructions.

Mr Omar also said he needed time to obtain data from Safaricom, a post-mortem report, and to record statements from more witnesses.

The magistrate granted the request and ordered the suspect remanded in police custody until next week when the matter will be mentioned.

Karimi's body is at the mortuary awaiting a post-mortem examination.
Detectives are now piecing together information from witnesses to build a case against the suspect.