Puzzle of juvenile murder suspect ‘on the run’ for two years

John Marubu the father of the Eight year old girl who was found murdered, packed in a sack and buried in a shallow grave at Murang'a's Nginda village on July 18, 2020, by an alleged 15 year old boy

Photo credit: Mwangi Muiruri I Nation Media Group

The parents of an eight-year-old girl in Murang'a who was found murdered and her body stuffed in a sack and buried in a shallow grave have appealed to investigators to explain how the 15-year-old suspect escaped from juvenile remand.

The girl’s father John Chege Marubu, told Nation.Africa on Wednesday that "we as a family are at a loss because we have been hoping that justice for our daughter would be found in the courts only to be told that he is nowhere to be found since he escaped in July last year".

The boy is accused of murdering the Grade Three pupil by strangling in Ihiga-ini village, Murang’a South sub-county. He then allegedly put the body in a sack and buried it in a shallow grave. Her body was found on July 18, 2020  

He was arrested by Maragua police. When he was arraigned, he pleaded not guilty and was remanded at the juvenile centre, from where he allegedly escaped on an unspecified date in June 2021. He is still at large.

The case was scheduled to be mentioned on October 5, 2020 in a Murang'a court before Justice Kanyi Kimondo but prosecutors failed to produce the suspect, forcing the case to be adjourned.

Prosecutors had asked for two weeks to find him but after the time lapsed, it emerged that the suspect had disappeared from the Murang’a juvenile holding centre and a manhunt had been silently going on.

Justice Kimondo said prosecutors had been economical with information about the boy’s whereabouts. Prosecutors then asked for a warrant of arrest against the suspect, saying he was on the run.

The manhunt has now been intensified, with sleuths now believing he is probably holed up in Nakuru or Lamu counties.

Despite these delays, Murang'a South police boss Alexander Shikondi said justice the victim’s family will get justice.

"I want to assure the family of the girl whose life was brutally cut short in a manner that shocked the country [that justice will be done]. We are taking the search for the suspect very seriously. While the search is national, we have reasons to believe he is hiding in one of the two counties," Mr Shikondi said.

The girl’s father said he learned of the new development with shock.

“I have been taken in circles for too long. It is nearly two years since my daughter was murdered. The DCI has been very elusive in giving me factual information about the case. My wife is already depressed. The DCI should know it is psychologically torturing us,” he said.

He said he had repeatedly visited the Maragua Police Station, the area assistant county commissioner’s office and the DCI offices in search of information on the case to no avail.

Mr Shikondi said the Murang'a East police station is investigating how the suspect escaped and who aided him or slept on the job and allowed him to walk out and melt into the streets.

“He did not escape from our jurisdiction despite the fact that he is our suspect and the murder case is ours. His escape means our case has stalled but we intend to liaise with our colleagues countrywide to apprehend him," he said.

The search has been complicated because the suspect is underage and has no phone to be tracked.

"He has no identity card that we can monitor where it is currently in use...no bank account whose transactions we can monitor. It is a search out there in the vastness of the country but we are working hard to get him back in custody," he said.


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