Two Nigerian nationals arraigned over alleged murder and dismemberment of 20-year-old student in Kenya as police recover her head from dam

Two Nigerian citizens, linked to the brutal killing and dismemberment of a 20-year-old woman in Kenya, were presented before the Chief Magistrate at Makadara Law Courts on Monday, January 22, 2024.

Rita Waeni, a student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology (JKUAT), was discovered in an apartment in Nairobi’s Roysambu area on January 14, 2024, with her body mutilated and her head missing.

The body parts of the student, who was due to begin her fourth year in the university, were discovered inside a trash bag in the apartment by the caretaker. 

Police could not immediately confirm the identity of the victim until the family came out to reveal that she was Waeni, who had left her aunt’s house in Syokimau to meet a friend. 

A head suspected to be that of Rita, was recovered from a dam in Kiambaa, in Kiambu county on Sunday, January 21. 

According to investigations by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the two suspects, William Ovie Opia and  Johnbull Asbor, were living in Kenya illegally. 

DCI said Opia’s passport had expired while Asbor did not have any travel documents at the time of his arrest.

Asbor told the detectives that he lost his passport two years ago

The suspects were traced by the DCI’s Criminal Research and Intelligence Bureau (CRIB) detectives to a rented apartment in Ndenderu in Kiambu County where they were picked up on Sunday. 

Detective constable Benjamin Wangila of Kasarani DCI offices told Makadara court on Monday that the suspects were living not very far from the area where Rita Waeni’s head was recovered.

In the residence where the two suspects resided, authorities found a hatchet, a butcher’s knife, a Kenyan national identity card (withheld name), six mobile phones, three laptops, 10 SIM cards from various telecom providers, and other items.

The investigation team is seeking to obtain call data records for all the SIM cards and mobile phone numbers recovered from the respondents to ascertain whether they were involved in the murder,” Wangila stated in an affidavit filed in the court.

The applicant requires adequate time to escort the respondents to the Government Chemist for extraction of their blood samples for DNA analysis and comparison against the samples that were extracted from the scene of crime.”

He said the suspects are flight risks since they don’t have a known fixed place of abode.

Wangila was seeking orders to hold the suspects for eight days at the Kasarani police station which were granted by Senior Principal Magistrate Agnes Mwangi of Makadara Law Courts.

They will be in custody until January 31.

The affidavit indicated that Opia bought a hatchet from an online vendor and he told investigators that he had bought it for self-defense

Wangila said he is investigating a case of murder contrary to section 203 is read with section 204 of the Penal Code which was reported at Kasarani police station vide OB34/14/01/2024 by Priscila Maina, the owner of the short stay – rental apartment where Ms Waeni was killed.

Ms Maina who is in custody told the police that she had received information from the caretaker of the apartment that there were blood traces from her BnB which led her to a garbage collection point on the ground floor where body parts were found stashed in refuse bags.

Ms Maina is in custody for failure to register her tenant’s crucial details as required by the law, which would have helped the DCI to trace the murderer.

Waeni’s family was unable to identify her head yesterday at the City Mortuary although the DCI had said her head had been recovered at a dam in Kiambu on Sunday, January 21.

Records at the City Mortuary where the head had been taken indicated that it belonged to an unknown female adult.

A missing mobile phone that belonged to the deceased was also recovered at the scene.

The head was found covered in a sack and wrapped in a purple blouse, adding a sinister twist to the already gruesome scene.

A postmortem conducted on the body on Friday last week showed she had missing fingernails.

Government pathologist Johansen Oduor informed reporters that the individual responsible for these actions attempted to trim the fingernails. While the exact motive remains unclear, Oduor, as a scientist, speculates that it might be an effort to conceal evidence and prevent the extraction of DNA from the victim.

On January 17, the family released a statement stating that at approximately 5:00 am on Sunday, the student’s father received a message demanding a ransom of Ksh. 500,000 within 24 hours for the student’s release.

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