Love gone sour? Kenya, US police hunt for fugitive in murder probe

Kevin Kangethe is wanted for the murder of his girlfriend Margaret Mbitu.

Photo credit: Boston Police

For a year and a half, Margaret Mbitu and Kevin Kangethe seemed to have fallen deeply in love.

For two Kenyans living and working in Massachusetts to meet and fall in love was as good a love story as any.

Margaret's family knew little about Kevin other than his name and that he was an IT specialist. But

Margaret was happy, and that was all that mattered.

This week, Margaret's mother, Rose Mbitu, told the Boston News that her daughter was planning to break up with Kevin.

Could the impending break-up have led to a crime of passion? Detectives in Boston, Massachusetts, are collecting evidence from several crime scenes in an attempt to determine what happened.

At 6.30pm on Wednesday, police officers in Boston found Margaret's car with her lifeless body inside.

Analysis has since confirmed that she was murdered.

For now, US authorities are convinced of one thing – that Kevin, 40, murdered Maggie, as she was
affectionately known to family and close friends, before buying tickets for a 16-hour flight to Nairobi, a move detectives believe was to avoid prosecution.

The tickets, it has now emerged, were bought early on Tuesday morning, just hours after Margaret's death.

"State Police Detectives obtained a warrant charging Kangethe with Ms Mbitu’s homicide and are working with Kenyan authorities to locate Kangethe,” a statement from the Massachusetts State Police said.

Massachusetts authorities are hoping to take advantage of Kenya's extradition treaty with the US, which led to the conviction of two members of the notorious Akasha family on drug trafficking and other charges.

Preliminary evidence gathered from Maggie's car, which was parked in a garage at Boston's Logan Airport, and CCTV footage from the airport, has pointed the finger at Kevin for the most heinous of murders.

The CCTV footage is being used to create a timeline of events that may answer some questions about Margaret's murder.

Margaret lived with her family in Whitman and worked at Boston Area Multi-Services Inc (Bamsi) in Brockton, about 7.2 kilometres away.

On Monday night, she drove 62 kilometres to Boston Logan Airport to see Kevin.
Kevin lived in Lowell, 80 kilometres from Margaret's home in Whitman.

On Friday, NBC Boston reported that surveillance footage placed Margaret's car in Lowell and Chelsea, Massachusetts, the day before she was killed.

The 31-year-old nurse worked at Brockton Area Multi-Services Inc, and clocked out of her shift at 11pm last Monday. She got into her white Toyota Venza and drove off, in what would be the last time she would be seen alive.

Those close to Margaret knew she would return home after work. Family members reported her missing after she did not return home and could not be reached by phone.

It turned out that Margaret had gone to Boston Logan Airport, 40 miles (62 kilometres) away, to meet her partner. It is still unclear whether she knew her partner was planning to travel to Kenya.

Two days later, Massachusetts State Police officers found Margaret's body in her car. Authorities have not revealed much, except that preliminary evidence points to Kevin as the prime suspect.

“Not much is known about him but I am told he was working in IT. Maggie left work at 11pm to go to her house, how they ended up together that night is still a mystery,” a family friend told the Nation in a
phone interview on Friday.

He said Maggie had never shown any signs of unhappiness or abuse in her relationship with Kevin.

Detectives from the Suffolk County State Police Unit and the State Police Troop have been at Mbitu's home in Whitman, searching for clues that could piece together information about what exactly happened.

The Massachusetts State Police are working with Kenya's National Police Service to locate and arrest Kevin, although both authorities remain tight-lipped about details of the investigation.

The Massachusetts State Police had not responded to our emails seeking information about the investigation by the time of going to press.

National Police Service spokesperson Resila Onyango had also not responded to our calls or text messages seeking information on the search for Kevin Kangethe.

Sources told the Nation that Kevin was working at an airport in the US before the incident on Monday night. Airport management had not responded to our request for confirmation of this information by press time.

Margaret has been eulogised as a kind person whose happiness was contagious.

“The entire family...everybody is down... I am not myself right now. This is heartbreaking,” her mother told Boston News.

Margaret is survived by her parents Rose and Harun, siblings Ann and Bernard, and several cousins, aunts and uncles.

Margaret was a naturalised US citizen. She graduated from Quincy College in 2018 and worked for Bamsi, a non-profit organisation that says it has impacted the lives of more than 50,000 people.

The family has been holding daily virtual prayer meetings with the local Anglican community as they begin preparations for Margaret's funeral.