US confirms arrest of fugitive who fled to Kenya after murder of girlfriend

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

Photo credit: Boston Police

What you need to know:

  • Kevin Kangethe Kinyanjui was arrested and detained by local authorities in Nairobi
  • The Embassy commended the efforts of Kenyan law enforcement in apprehending the fugitive

The US embassy in Kenya on Tuesday confirmed the arrest in Nairobi of a wanted Kenyan fugitive who fled the country after killing a woman and taking refuge here. 

Kevin Kangethe Kinyanjui, 40, was arrested and detained by local authorities in Nairobi's Westlands area on Monday night.

Commended efforts 

The Embassy commended the efforts of Kenyan law enforcement in apprehending the fugitive, who is suspected of murdering Margaret 'Maggie' Mbitu in Massachusetts sometime between October 30 and November 4, 2023.  

"United States law enforcement agencies, Kenya's Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions are working side-by-side to locate and apprehend the fugitive," they said in a statement.

"The United States and Kenya are committed to strengthening law enforcement cooperation to apprehend criminals, eliminate criminal activity, and advance justice."

Interpol red notice 

Kang'ethe, who had an Interpol Red Notice on his head, was arrested at a club by police acting on a tip-off and is being held at Gigiri Police Station while investigations continue.

A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement agencies around the world to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action. 

It is not an international arrest warrant. Individuals are wanted by the requesting member state or international court.

Police had earlier said they were awaiting identifiers from US police to facilitate the process of identifying the suspect in custody.

"We have a man who is believed to be the suspect who is wanted in the US for alleged murder. We are waiting for further profiling to know the way forward," said a senior official with knowledge of the investigation.

Alleged murder in Massachusetts

Kenyan detectives received a request from US authorities in November to arrest Kangethe for an alleged murder in Massachusetts. The victim's mother revealed that Margaret had planned to break up with the suspect.

In November 2023, after the body was found, her mother, Rose Mbitu, told the Boston News that her daughter was planning to break up with Kangethe.

Boston police officers found Margaret's car with her lifeless body inside, and analysis confirmed that she had been murdered.

US authorities are convinced of one thing - that Kangethe 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.

It later emerged that the tickets were bought within hours of her death.

"State police detectives have obtained an arrest warrant charging Kangethe with Ms Mbitu's murder and are working with Kenyan authorities to locate Kangethe," a Massachusetts State Police statement said at the time.

Preliminary evidence gathered from Maggie's car, which was parked in a garage at the airport, and CCTV footage from the airport pointed to the suspect in the most heinous of murders.

The 31-year-old nurse worked at Brockton Area Multi-Services Inc and finished her shift at 11pm last Monday. She got into her white Toyota Venza and drove off, the last time she was seen alive.

Worked at an airport 

In November 2023, sources told the Nation that Kangethe had worked at an airport in the US before the incident. 

Maggie was described as a kind person whose happiness was contagious.
"The whole family... everyone is down... I am not myself right now. This is heartbreaking," her mother told the Boston News.

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

Graduated from Quincy College 

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