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US fugitive wanted for murder escapes custody in Kenya

Thursday February 8, 2024
By Gloria Aradi & Ian Wafula

Kelvin Kangethe is alleged to have murdered and dumped his girlfriend at the Boston Logan airport, before fleeing to Kenya. DCI Kenya

A man who fled the US after allegedly killing his girlfriend has walked out of a Kenyan police station where he was being held without anyone stopping him.

Kelvin Kangethe, 41, was arrested last week leaving a club in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, after a months-long manhunt.

A court had allowed his detention for 30 days awaiting possible extradition.

Authorities say that after Mr Kangethe murdered his girlfriend last October, he abandoned her body in a car at Boston Logan International Airport.

He then boarded a flight to Kenya, his country of origin.

He has not commented on the allegations.

Police have shocked Kenyans by disclosing that Mr Kangethe managed to walk out of the Muthaiga Police Station where he was being detained on Wednesday afternoon.

According to the police statement, Mr Kangethe took off during a meeting in a private room with a man who visited the station saying he was his lawyer.

"After a short while the prisoner escaped by running away and left the lawyer behind," the statement said.

At the time, all the officers were attending a separate meeting that had been called by the head of the station.

An eyewitness who works near the station told the BBC that police pursued Mr Kangethe, who was dressed in a black jacket.

"We thought he was being chased for jaywalking. People just watched him run away," the witness said.

"If we knew why he was wanted we'd have helped arrest him."

Police say they failed to apprehend Mr Kangethe. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

Four police officers who were on duty and the man who met Mr Kangethe have been arrested, Nairobi police commander Adamson Bungei told local media.

The privately owned Star newspaper quoted Mr Bungei as saying that the security lapse was "embarrassing" for Kenyan police, who have since launched a new search for Mr Kangethe.

Officers at the station are restricting access, fearing more information could leak to the public.

The family of Mr Kangethe's girlfriend, Margaret Mbitu, told US media that she had been planning to end their relationship before he allegedly killed her.

She was a 30-year-old Kenyan-American nurse working in Halifax, Massachusetts.

Ms Mbitu was last seen alive leaving her workplace on the evening of 30 October last year.

She was reported missing the same day and her body was discovered two days later.

Authorities believe Mr Kangethe left the US during the window between Ms Mbitu's disappearance and the discovery of her body.

They linked Mr Kangethe to the murder after security footage captured him leaving the airport parking lot where Ms Mbitu's body was later found.
He caught a flight the morning after Ms Mbitu went missing.

A Kenyan court was due to rule on Friday whether Mr Kangethe should be tried in Kenya or be extradited to face first-degree murder charges in the US, after he claimed that he had renounced his US citizenship last year.


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