Fatal attraction: Did love gone sour lead to woman’s beheading?

The late Beatrice Gatwiri.

The late Beatrice Gatwiri. Her decapitated body was found at Rwerea hill on the outskirts of Mikinduri town, Meru County on January 15, 2023.

Photo credit: Courtesy

On Sunday, January 15 this year, a decapitated body was found at Rwerea hill on the outskirts of Mikinduri town, Meru County.

Three days later, the body has been identified as that of Beatrice Gatwiri, 18, who had left her grandmother's home in Amatu village on December 24 to live with her boyfriend.  

According to Ms Martha Mwongela, her grandmother, Ms Gatwiri sat her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) at St Massimo Secondary School last year and immediately left her home. She would later learn that the girl was living with her long-term boyfriend, not far from their home.

But days after the gruesome discovery, investigators are still piecing together the puzzle of the whereabouts of the teen's missing head, the identity of her killer and the motive for the heinous act.

Tigania Central Police Commander, Mr Joel Chepkwony, said they are holding her boyfriend as investigations and search for her missing head continue.

Her lover is a motorbike mechanic in Mikinduri town.

Facebook posts

On Saturday, January 14, the man posted a photo of Ms Gatwiri on his official Facebook page with the caption: "Kuna mtu ameona huyu dem?" (Has anyone seen this girl?)

Ms Martha Mwongela, grandmother of Beatrice Gatwiri

Ms Martha Mwongela, grandmother of Beatrice Gatwiri, whose decapitated body was found on January 15, 2023. 

Photo credit: David Muchui | Nation Media Group

Later at about 6.30 pm, he wrote: "Huyu dem amepotea" (The girl has gone missing).

Ms Mwongela, the granny who raised Ms Gatwiri since she was one year old, said the teen left home on Christmas eve without explanation.

“She packed her belongings and left after completing her KCSE. She has never contacted me since. I later learnt through neighbours that she was living with him,” she tearfully recounted.

Ms Mwongela added: “On January 13, he (boyfriend) came to my home and informed me that Ms Gatwiri had left on January 12 and had not returned. The next day, he came with his mother and they told me she was yet to be found. I advised them to report the matter to the police.”

The grandmother says later on Sunday, Ms Gatwiri's boyfriend came looking for the girl’s relatives to accompany him to the police station.

"He wanted someone to accompany him to report that she is missing. They went with my son and later in the day, I was informed that the headless body of my granddaughter had been found in Rwerea," she recounts.

According to the police, the suspect says he was at work when Ms Gatwiri left his house, adding that she left her phone because he had carried the battery for recharging.

Sleuths are also working round the clock and combing Rwerea bushes in an effort to trace her head.

Half-naked body

"The information we have gathered is that the lady left her boyfriend's house without her phone. The body was found half naked with her underwear hanging from a tree. We have combed the bush for the head without success," Mr Chepkwony said.

He said DCI officers were studying data from phones belonging to the teen and the prime suspect to help establish what could have transpired.

The police boss appealed to residents to volunteer information that could lead to the arrest of suspects and the finding of the missing head.

Tigania Central Police Commander Joel Chepkwony

Tigania Central Police Commander Joel Chepkwony on January 18, 2023. He said the deceased's boyfriend Allan Kirimi is in custody while the search for Beatrice Gatwiri's missing head continues. 

Photo credit: David Muchui | Nation Media Group

“We are experiencing challenges because residents are not willing to volunteer information. Anyone with information can reach out to me,” he said.

Mr Joseph Kiburi, a relative of Ms Gatwiri, said they were hesitant to plan a burial until the missing head is found.

“Our prayer is that we get justice as well as the rest of her body. We urge investigators to ensure killers are brought to book. We cannot have peace if we bury a headless body,” he said.