How two-faced house help won neighbours' hearts before killing her boss

Ex-employer of killer house help recounts red flags in hiring her

What you need to know:

  • Interviews with people who had interacted closely with her prior to the tragedy as well as police officers involved in the investigations portray the picture of a woman with two faces.

When news broke that a house help had killed her employer in Kilifi last week, one of the questions that lingered was, who are you keeping in your house?

An investigation by Nation has pieced together information concerning the suspect who was still at large by the time of going to press.

Interviews with people who had interacted closely with her prior to the tragedy as well as police officers involved in the investigations portray the picture of a woman with two faces.

In June 2022, the woman who allegedly identifies herself by different names is claimed to have arrived at Mtopanga estate in Kisauni constituency, Mombasa. She was employed as a house help at Ms Achieng Agolla Biwott's house.

Police say that it is in this estate where she would later meet the mother of Rahab Karisa, the deceased Kilifi County chief officer of Blue Economy. As fate would have it, Ms Biwott and her family live a stone's throw away from Rahab's mother.

Rahab, a mother of two baby boys aged one and three years, would have celebrated her 31st birthday on July 22,2022.

Preliminary investigations by the police which were corroborated by Nation's independent interviews show that the suspect quit her job at the Biwott's early this year. She then moved to live with Rahab's mother before she was taken to Kilifi about four months ago before the tragedy struck last Thursday.

In an exclusive interview with Nation, Ms Biwott said that although she noticed some red flags about the woman when she employed her, she gave her a benefit of doubt.

"There is a lady who connected me to her when I informed her that I needed a house help. She told me that she knew someone from Bungoma who had been working at Shimanzi," said Ms Biwott.

Their go-between claimed that the house help was from the same village as her. By this, Ms Biwott was confident that she was someone who could be trusted.

However, her suspicions arose on the first day they met when she interviewed her for the job. This was because the suspect who introduced herself as Diana said she did not have an identity card on her and the explanations given only added more suspicions about her character.

"She told me that someone had sold her a phone that had issues, it was a stolen phone. The police tracked the phone and found it with her. They locked her in the cell for three days. She was released after the guy who sold her the phone was arrested but she had to leave her ID at the OB (desk)," she alleged.

According to her, the suspect assured her that she would produce her identity card as soon as it was released.

This she later did, but raised more suspicion since the document had a different name from the one she had introduced herself.

"She had introduced herself as Diana Wanyama but when I checked the ID, it was Sarah. So I asked her who was Sarah and who was Diana. She told me both are her names," said Ms Biwott.

Upon further prodding, she claimed that Diana was her nickname. The suspect worked at Ms Biwott's home until the end of 2022 when she quit.

Her former employer says that she had also planned to let go of her since she noticed some kleptomaniacal tendencies whereby money and other valuables would disappear. Some of these would be found in her bags, and she would claim that they might have been put in there by the children.

Besides that, she alleges that the house help had started coming back home drunk after her off days.

Painted different picture

"I had given birth in November and I started to get worried about my baby. I thought she could even disappear with my baby," said Ms Biwott.

Ironically, neighbours in both Mtopanga Estate and Mnarani Classic in Kilifi where the tragedy took place, painted a different picture of the house help.

Several neighbours who spoke to Nation claimed that she was a jovial woman who was affable to them as well as children.

As a result of this, if the suspect ends up being found guilty, it would make a classic example of the need to differentiate between one's character and personality.

"If you are looking for a house help do a background check. Don't just poach her from somebody else because you have seen that she is hardworking. The moment you take her in, you will see her true colours," said Ms Biwott.

According to a senior police officer involved in the case, they have partially figured out the suspect's movements since she escaped.

Although details about this cannot be revealed due to security reasons, the officer said they want to ensure that she will not get a chance to cross the country's border at any point.

A postmortem on the body of the deceased which was carried out on Friday showed that she suffered a deep cut which penetrated through her back to the lungs.

The examination also revealed that her face was partly swollen. Rahab was asleep when she was attacked at around 3am on Thursday.

She had just arrived from a week-long work tour in Italy that night when an argument ensued between her, the house help and her aunt who was taking care of the children in her absence.

According to her husband, Mr Maxwell Ayera, she had moved with her children from Nairobi to Kilifi seven months ago after her appointment at the county.

She was part of the team entrusted to deliver Governor Gideon Mung’aro's first-term development agenda at the county after his election in 2022.

"I regret letting you take this career move (away from me), 7 months down the line I am coming back to a lifeless, cold and dead you babe," Mr Ayera said in a tribute to his wife posted on his social media page.

On July 9, Mr Mmera commemorated his mother's demise which happened in 2016.

Investigators who sought anonymity for lack of authority to speak to the press said that Rahab found Sh32,000 missing from the Sh100,000 she had been keeping in her house.

"She sought answers from the house help as well as her aunt about the whereabouts of the money and threatened to report them to the police if she won't get the money by morning. The arguments went on until around 2am," an investigator told Nation.


It is alleged that the house help did not go to bed that night but stayed in the sitting room while the rest of the family retired to their bedrooms.

One of their neighbours at Kilifi's Mnarani Classic estate said they heard someone scream once but no one thought much about it until they started hearing commotion in the compound. Initially, they thought that the noise came from a nearby nightclub.

According to the witness, neighbours started peeping outside the window and she saw Rahab's aunt and house help seemingly in an argument.

"The house help was shouting and could be heard saying 'shetani, shetani' (satan, satan). She kept repeating this until we went outside to find out what had happened. We tried to ask her what was troubling her, but she was just laughing hysterically," said the neighbour.

At this point, none of the neighbours suspected any tragedy.

Another witness said they managed to calm down Rahab's aunt who agreed to go with them inside the house and that is when she told them that the house help had killed her niece.

Rahab's aunt alleged that the house help threatened to kill her too if she raised the alarm, according to witness statements.

"Some of us had stayed outside to keep an eye on the house help. But curiosity took over the neighbours when it emerged that someone had been killed inside. Everyone wanted to witness and I believe that is when she got a chance to escape," a neighbour said.

Despite this explanation, investigators suspect that she might have been assisted to escape.

The apartment building where the tragedy occurred is surrounded by a tall brick wall and guarded at the gate.

Witnesses said the guard on duty pressed an alarm to call for backup from his security company when he realised that there was a murder incident, but the suspect was nowhere to be found when his team arrived minutes later.

Police said they found Rahab's laptop on and some torn documents in her bedroom. It is suspected that she did some work before going to bed.

Also found were bags packed with the suspect's belongings, indicating a possibility that she had planned to leave.

The deceased's body was transferred to Pandya Memorial Hospital in Mombasa on Friday evening as the family makes burial arrangements.

Mr Mung'aro said the county government will assist in planning the funeral.