Lawrence Warunge Njoroge

Lawrence Warunge Njoroge (second right), who is linked to the killing of his four family members and a worker in Kiambu, leads detectives to a site at Jikaze IDP Camp in Maai Mahiu, Nakuru County, where murder weapons were retrieved on January 09, 2020.

| Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

Did 22-year-old university student try to wipe out his kin?

What you need to know:

  • Lawrence Warunge Njoroge, the first-born son of the family, was arrested on Friday evening.
  • He was in the company of a woman believed to be his girlfriend, who is said to be a businesswoman at Biafra in Thika Town.

The white hazmat suit, a grey hoodie and the face mask he wore did everything to protect the identity of the suspect corralled around by gruff homicide detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations. 

All covered up, his emotions were not discernible as Lawrence Warunge Njoroge, a 22-year-old university student, led the officers from place to place as they searched for forensic materials to aid their investigations into the gruesome murder of four members of his family and a worker earlier in the week.

He ushered them to IDP area in Maai Mahiu, Nakuru County, where he showed them where he said he burnt blood-stained clothes. Later, they proceeded to a pit latrine in Jikaze IDP Camp in Maai Mahiu Township, where they retrieved a knife suspected to have been used to commit the murder, home keys, crushed mobile phones and rods.

The detectives also found a white jacket, a dark blue trouser and a pair of shoes from the latrine. All the items had been put in a white carrier bag.

The university student, whose whereabouts initially aroused concerns that he may have also been murdered, is now the prime suspect in the multiple homicides of his father Nicholas Njoroge Warunge, his mother Annie Wanjiku, his brother Christian Njoroge and cousin Maxwell Njenga and his father’s foreman James Kinyanjui between Monday and Tuesday this week.

Warunge, the first-born son of the family, was arrested on Friday evening after a search by the detectives in Lower Kabete, Kiambu County, while in the company of a woman believed to be his girlfriend, who is said to be a businesswoman at Biafra in Thika Town.

At Maai Mahiu, Anthony Mutuku, a caretaker at a rental house at Jikaze IDP camp, said the couple had paid for a single room on December 25, 2020, for seven days. They moved out on January 7.

Murder weapons

Detectives retrieve some of weapons said to have been used in the killing of four family members and worker in Kiambu at Jikaze IDP Camp in Maai Mahiu in Nakuru County on January 09, 2020.

Photo credit: Chebite Kigen | Nation Media Group

Crucial evidence

It is the pit latrine in the property where detectives retrieved what they consider crucial evidence in the homicide case they plan to prosecute against the young man.

Detectives interviewed by the Sunday Nation said that the fingerprints dusting at the home had placed at least three people at the scene of the murder. Two people are in custody according to the Director of Criminal Investigations, George Kinoti.

“We are now 100 per cent sure that he (Warunge) was involved. The boy says he was not in good terms with the family, but what we want to establish now is the drive. We have done thorough investigations on this matter and we are piecing together what we have gathered so far. Everyone who was involved will surely be arrested,” Mr Kinoti told the Sunday Nation yesterday.

At least 10 detectives from the Homicide Investigating Unit led by the unit’s head Martin Nyuguto visited the family home at Karura ka Murimu village in Kiambu County, then proceeded to the DCI headquarters at Mazingira House and then to Maai Mahiu’s Jikaze IDP camp where they recovered the items.

“He has given us a lot of information, but we are going beyond this to corroborate the circumstantial and forensic evidence with what he is saying. The post-mortem on the bodies will also give us progress,” said Mr Kinoti yesterday, exuding confidence that forensic materials and biodata will give more information to the investigators. The post-mortem is scheduled for tomorrow.

Detectives had been tracking Warunge since he was discovered “missing”.

Yesterday, two detectives who were part of the investigating team said he first switched on his mobile phone at around 6am on Friday and the first call he made was to his girlfriend who resides in Thika.

“He called her and informed her that he was coming to Thika and immediately switched off,” one detective said.

The suspect later left Thika for Ndongoro village near Wangigi Township. He was later intercepted by detectives in Kabete while in transit. Police officers took him to Kabete Police Station and later to Karuri Police Station where he spent Friday night, before handing him over to the Homicide Unit.

“The young man looked disturbed and he was not consistent in what he was saying,” a detective told the Sunday Nation.

With the new development, the police say they will try and find out whether he was linked to the murder of his brother and a cousin in 2016, and the attempted murder of his other brother.

Murder weapon

Area residents at the scene where a suspect linked to the killing of four family members in Kiambu had hidden murder weapons at Jikaze IDP camp in Maai Mahiu in Nakuru County on January 09, 2021.

Photo credit: Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

No signs of commotion

In the latest killings, the family home had no signs of a commotion and had not been broken into. The bodies had stab wounds.

Warunge’s father, Mr Nicholas Njoroge, who is a medical practitioner in the United States, was found near the gate, signalling that he had attempted to flee from his killers.

According to crime scene investigators, the mother may have been the first to be killed by an assailant believed to have entered the home through the rear kitchen door.

The assailant(s) may have then gone for her nephew Maxwell Njenga, 13, who may have tried to respond to the noise in the kitchen. His body was found on the corridor.

Christian Njoroge, also 13, whose body was found in his bedroom, may have been the next to be killed before the man of the house, who had tried to escape from the scene by jumping from the balcony of the master bedroom upstairs.

The farm’s foreman James Kinyanjui, whose body was the first to be found on Tuesday, may have been the last to lose his life and detectives believe that he may have been killed because he witnessed the murders. It is not yet clear to the police whether one person committed the murders.

Two daughters of the family, who had left home for boarding schools before the murders happened, are safe and are putting up at a safe house.

At the family’s home in Kagongo village, police continued to keep vigil yesterday with Administration Police officers manning it round-the-clock and homicide detectives continued to gather evidence.

Reported by Simon Ciuri, Stella Cherono and Macharia Mwangi

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