US murder suspect escapes from police custody in Muthaiga

Police have launched a manhunt for a fugitive who was waiting to be extradited to the United States to face first-degree murder charges.

Kevin Kang’ethe Kinyanjui, 40,​ escaped from police custody in questionable circumstances on Wednesday evening.

Police said in a statement that Kang’ethe, who was arrested and detained by local authorities in Nairobi’s Westlands last week escaped while meeting his lawyer at Muthaiga police station on Wednesday, February 7.

Police added that the suspect who had been detained pending a ruling on whether he should be extradited to the US to face murder charges in connection with the murder of Margaret ‘Maggie’ Mbitu on October 31, 2023, escaped and jumped onto a Public Service Vehicle before fleeing to an unknown destination.

“The prisoner escaped by running away leaving the said lawyer behind. The officers raised an alarm as they chased the prisoner along the Thika superhighway but couldn’t re-arrest the prisoner,” police said in a statement.

According to the police, John Maina Ndegwa walked in and identified himself as a lawyer saying he wanted to speak to his client privately and was granted permission to do so, but minutes later the suspect escaped leaving the said lawyer behind.

A source at the scene who spoke to NTV said that police officers led by Nairobi Regional Police Commander Adamson Bungei rushed to the station after learning that the suspect had escaped and described the incident as “just embarrassing”.

The four police officers on duty and the said lawyer were all detained and will be interrogated further.

On January 31, 2024, the US embassy in Kenya confirmed the arrest of a wanted Kenyan fugitive, who allegedly fled the country after killing a woman and taking refuge here.

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.”

Kang’ethe appeared in court on February 1 and was being held in police custody for 30 days as the Director of Public Prosecutions prepares extradition proceedings after being arraigned at Milimani Law Courts, pending his extradition to the US.

The suspect is accused of killing Maggie, 31, in October last year.

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