Boda boda rider arrested over Kitengela murder
Christine Musa and Zadock Angira
A boda boda rider based in Kitengela, Kiajiado County, was yesterday arrested and a phone believed to have been used during the kidnapping and subsequent murder of an eight-year-old girl recovered.
Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) believe the recovered phone is among those used to demand ransom from Shantel Nzembi’s mother.
The suspect was arrested at a boda boda stage at Orata area in Kitengela, a few metres from where Shantel’s body was found dumped in a gunny bag on Monday, May 31.
“At exactly 12.54pm detectives netted the rider who was on his usual routine waiting for customers while in the company of other riders,” a police source told People Daily.
The rider, who was donning a helmet and reflector jacket, was in possession of a mobile phone believed to have been used by the kidnappers to solicit a Sh300,000 ransom.
He did not resist arrest but claimed he had picked the phone from a ditch a few metres from where police recovered the body.
The suspect was, however, unable to explain why he immediately resorted to using the phone after inserting his registered line.
According to detectives, the suspect was also unable to explain the whereabouts of his previous phone.
“He could not explain where the phone he was using before he found the one in question, was,” a detective said yesterday.
According to police, the suspect looked nervous and uneasy.
Detectives are also closing in on two other female suspects. One of them is believed to be the main player, a woman who eyewitnesses said is of light complexion, and who is said to have taken Shantel from where she was playing with a friend near an apartment block in Ashut area of Kitengela.
Shantel, a Grade 2 pupil, went missing on Sunday from her home in Ashut before her body was found dumped at Orata Noonkopir the following day.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the woman called Shantel, pretending that she was inquiring if there was a vacant house in the apartment. She went missing thereafter.
“She is believed to be the one who was in communication with the deceased girl’s mother. She was also in communication with the other female suspect,” a detective said.
Isinya DCI boss Jeremiah Ndubai said detectives are following leads with a view to apprehending other people believed to have been involved in the heinous crime.
“So far we have a major breakthrough in unravelling the heinous murder of the young girl.
We have a suspect in custody and have crucial information that will help us arrest two women suspects on our radar. We are also analysing mobile data that is key in our investigations,” he said.
Preliminary investigations have also revealed that the killer gang could have mistaken Shantel for the daughter of a police officer.
The police officer, attached to the Gender Desk at Kitengela police station, recorded a second statement with detectives yesterday.
The investigators, People Daily learnt, were keen to establish the identity and motive of the killers.
This is because the kidnappers repeatedly referred to Shantel’s mother, Christine Ngina, as “Mama Sharon”.
Daughter of police officer
Sharon is the daughter of the police officer who was playing with Shantel.
“I was shocked when the anonymous caller who informed me of the kidnapping kept on referring to me as “Mama Sharon” as they demanded ransom,” Ngina told People Daily.
Shantel was studying with Sharon at a private school in Noonkopir and the two children were best friends who always played together.
Police said the caller had told Shantel’s distraught mother that her daughter was with her (caller) in Kiambu county, and if she wanted to see her alive again she needed to part with a ransom of Sh300,000.
She then gave an Airtel phone number where the money was to be sent through and ominously threatened that she would “do the worst thing” should Ngina involve the police.
Later, a boda boda rider reported that a body had been discovered dumped in a gunny bag in Ashut area. At around 11am, the body was identified as Shantel’s.