Agnes Tirop

Agnes Tirop, whose lifeless body was found in the bedroom of her house in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet county on October 13, 2021.

| Pool

Mystery woman sought as taxi driver arrested in Agnes Tirop murder probe 

What you need to know:

  • Athlete's young sister recounts events that preceded her sibling's gruesome murder.
  • Police have intensified the manhunt for the murdered athlete's runaway husband.

An unidentified woman visited murdered Olympian Agnes Tirop’s home a day before her lifeless body was found in the bedroom she shared with her fugitive husband Emmanuel Ibrahim Rotich, it has emerged.

Police finally arrest Agnes Tirop's husband in Mombasa

The woman is said to have held a brief talk with Mr Rotich, the prime suspect in the killing who is on the run, before leaving the homestead.

“There was a knock on the gate at about 8am on Tuesday and when I went to open, I came face to face with the woman who quickly entered without uttering a word, went straight and had a conversation with Mr Rotich, for about five minutes, before leaving hurriedly,” said Everlyne Chepmwetich, Agnes’ younger sister who was staying with the couple.

Agnes’ body was discovered on Wednesday, but the account by her sister indicates she could have been murdered on Monday night, when she says she heard “a loud commotion” in the master bedroom.

On Tuesday morning she never saw her sister coming out of the bedroom, and when she attempted calling her phone was switched off.

When she enquired Mr Rotich said ‘she was Okay.’

“I was shocked when Rotich sent me to buy meat the following morning. I was apprehensive since it was unusual. I told him I had an appointment at Kapsowar town and left,” she recalls.

“At about 1pm Rotich called me inquiring if I had returned and when I affirmed he asked me not to pass by their home claiming they (together with Agnes) had left for Nairobi.”

Agnes Tirop

Agnes Tirop's siblings Mathew Kimurgor Tirop and Everlyne Chepng’etich at Iten Police Station on October 14, 2021. Agnes’ body was found in her house in Iten.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

The fact that her sister’s phone remained switched off made her apprehensive.

It was not until Tuesday evening when she called her parents informing them of Agnes’ disappearance upon which they reported her missing at the Iten Police Station, before the body was discovered on Wednesday morning with a stab wound in the neck.

“My sister had confided in me that her husband was abusing her but she opened up too late. I was shocked when she said she would be visiting home every weekend after returning from Olympics, she had not been home for long. The day she landed home (from Tokyo, Japan) she was beaten overnight and had a swollen face the following day,” she recounted.

Keiyo North sub county police boss, Tom Makori, told the Nation that homicide detectives had taken the CCTV installation at the home and were waiting for its forensic analysis.

He said detectives working on the case were also searching for the unidentified woman. 

“We’re in possession of CCTV and at the moment we have not accessed the footage because of passwords and experts are handling it to retrieve any information to help us unravel the killing. At the moment we have one suspect in custody, John Kipkoech Samoei, a friend to the slain athlete’s husband who was responsible for moving Agnes from the training camp to their home,” said Mr Makori.

Manhunt for suspect

The police officer said the manhunt for the runaway husband had been heightened.

His phone signal was last traced to Londiani.

“We’re following crucial leads including his phone signal and the getaway vehicle,” said Mr Makori.

The athlete’s father, Mzee Vincent Tirop, said his daughter was a victim of physical abuse from her partner and called for speedy justice.

“Let it be known that my daughter was never married to the suspect. I have never met his parents or even received any dowry. What I know is my child was forced to drop out of her studies while in Form Three. The suspect had me arrested together with my wife when he eloped with my daughter for over six months,” he said.

He said his daughter’s relationship with the suspect was full of torture both to the family and her, noting he created a wedge between them.

Agnes Tirop

FAMILY’S GRIEF: Vincent Tirop, father of the late distance running world champion Agnes Jebet Tirop, accompanied by Agnes’ brother Martin Kimurgor Tirop (slightly hidden second left), family spokesperson Jeremiah Kibet (left) and other relatives speak to Nation Sport at the Iten Police Station in Elgeyo Marakwet County on October 14, 2021.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

“I asked the police to aid me in returning her to school after she eloped with the suspect but I was told she was above eighteen years and could not be forced to return to class or leave the relationship. The suspect ensured he completely cut off communication with my daughter and even her siblings. Any monetary aid to us was through the suspect which was very rare,” said the distraught father outside Iten police station.

“She barely came home but after the Olympics she was home for a straight two weeks and even initiated a dairy project for me.” 

He said her daughter last visited home last Saturday and spent the night there after inspecting the dairy project, but when he attempted calling her on Monday her phone was switched off.

“Before leaving home on Sunday she had told me to look for a dairy cow and when I called to inquire, her phone was off. It was shocking when her sister, Chepmwetich, called informing us of her disappearance,” he narrated.

She said the family was distressed over her untimely demise, describing her daughter as a hard worker and a selfless individual.

“We’re thankful to the government and the global athletics fraternity for their messages of comfort at this trying time. We’re grateful to President Uhuru Kenyatta for his message. We hope justice will be served,” he said.

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