What you need to know:
- Athletics coach Nahashon Kibon said the athletics world was saddened by the killings and called on athletes to learn to speak out about their problems before it was too late.
Kenyan-Bahraini athlete Damaris Muthee Mutua was strangled, a post-mortem conducted in Iten has shown.
The decomposing body of Mutua, 28, was on Tuesday discovered in a rental house in Lilies estate, Iten town, lying on the bed, with a pillow on her face. Her alleged Ethiopian lover, now a fugitive, Eskinder Hailemariam Folie, is believed to be the prime suspect in her murder.
Keiyo North Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officer Andalo Munga said the cause of death was general strangulation.
“This resulted in asphyxiation and eventual death. We have also taken stomach content samples for toxicology analysis to check if there were some chemicals administered to her,” said Munga after a three-hour post-mortem conducted by a team of pathologists from the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, and Iten, at the county referral hospital’s funeral home in the presence of the victim’s family.
Munga said following the post-mortem, the family could now bury Mutua.
Her father, Sebastian Mutua, said the family was shocked by the killing of his sixth-born child, describing her as polite and upright. He called for the speedy arrest of the suspect.
“We will not be at peace until we are told why my daughter was killed in that manner. This is a serious matter and it applies all parents who have sent their children to distant areas, to learn of their untimely demise,” he said.
He dismissed claims that his daughter had a boyfriend, saying she was married and had a six-year-old son with her husband.
“My daughter was already married to Mr Felix Ngila, who is based in Qatar, and it was wrong to term the suspect as her lover. I am calling on members of the public to desist from killing their fellow human beings whenever there is an argument, but use dialogue and have respect for the sanctity of life,” he appealed.
Mutua’s father in-law, Josphat Ndeti, said the family will work with government officials to ensure the suspect, who is believed to have fled to Ethiopia, is brought to book.
“She left her Machakos home on Friday after jetting back from Angola, where she participated in a road race, and I called her the following day, inquiring about the injury which had bogged her down for over two years,” he recalled.
He added: “She had big dreams and had even bought a one-acre piece of land and wanted to build a house starting in the month of August. She even wanted to buy me a car, but now all has been dashed because of someone who took advantage of her before taking her life.”
Ndeti said the suspect took all of Mutua’s possessions, and called on the Bahraini and Kenyan governments to ensure the property is traced and handed over to the family to help take care of her child.
“We cannot trace her documents, including IDs and even bank documents. As a family, we will not allow anyone to benefit from her sweat fraudulently because she worked hard to get them,” he warned.
He also took issue with the government for allowing unregistered persons to come and stay in Kenya in the name of training, but who then prey on naïve women.
“The other time it was Ms Tirop, and the manner in which she was killed is just the same as that of Ms Mutua. Some cartels are out there to mint money from innocent young girls and the government should urgently address the matter,” he said.
Ndeti said the body will be moved to Machakos as burial arrangements start at the family’s Katisaa village. He asked the government to assist with the burial expenses.
The athletics fraternity, led by three-time London marathon champion Mary Keitany, condemned the killing.
“The elephant in the room is gender-based violence, which is now rife among athletes and we are calling for concerted efforts to sensitise athletes to run away from abuse, which is leading to loss of lives,” said Keitany, who had accompanied Mutua’s family.
Athletics coach Nahashon Kibon said the athletics world was saddened by the killings and called on athletes to learn to speak out about their problems before it was too late.