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Fresh details on life of woman killed and stashed in suitcase

Esther Wambui’s body was found in a suitcase at Kimbo in Kiambu County. Centre, her partner Joseph Ngige and father Samuel Mbugua (inset). [Courtesy]

Esther Wambui, the 18-year-old waitress whose body was found in a suitcase abandoned at Kimbo in Kiambu County, was strangled, a postmortem has revealed.

The autopsy conducted yesterday at the City mortuary also revealed Wambui had suffered multiple injuries on the back of her head. Similar injuries were noted on her forehead.

Pathologist Dr Simon Omuok in his findings indicated that Wambui, could have been hit with a blunt object.

Yesterday neighbours and colleagues spoke of a young woman who appeared to be content with what life had offered.

A neighbour in Watalaam slums on Ruiru-Kiambu Road, who spoke to The Saturday Standard, said Wambui’s lifestyle, clothing, and hairstyle were the envy of many.

At the Hilton area in Ruiru where Wambui shared a single room with her partner Joseph Ngige, friends and neighbours were still devastated about the circumstances surrounding her death.

A neighbour who declined to be named said the deceased kept to herself but would occasionally interact with other women at the water point when they washed clothes.

“She moved into this compound in July last year. I would describe her as young and naive. News of her untimely death is still shocking to many of us,” she said.

The neighbour said Wambui, whom she described as young and beautiful, and her partner rented a single room within the slum.

According to Patrick Ndung’u, the deceased’s employer at Gady Fast Restaurant in Ruiru, Wambui had only worked eight days.

Esther Wambui's partner Joseph Ngige at Ruiru Police Station. January 20, 2022. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Ndung’u said for the time she had worked at the premises, Wambui was always punctual except on the day she was found murdered.

“I did not get to know much about her but when she came for the interview, she told us she didn’t have an identity card which she said had been stolen. We only wrote down her ID number. At the time, she told us she lived with her brother,” Ndung’u told The Saturday Standard.

One of her colleagues at the restaurant said Wambui was a jovial person who loved her job. “She came here several times in search of an opportunity and when she finally got it, she was elated.”

Another neighbour who said she had become friends with Wambui in the last three months said they last saw each other on the weekend.

“I moved in the flat three months ago and found them (the couple) here. On Sunday she was around,” she said.

“On Monday morning she left with her partner as usual; I had been seeing them leaving the house every day but then the following day we received the news of her death. “During our interactions, she never talked much about her relationships,” she said.

A vendor in the area said Wambui recently told her she had found a job at a hotel in Ruiru.

“No one knew her personal life story very well. She never owned a phone for the time I knew her but most of the time I saw her with Ngige,” the vendor said.

Esther Wambui's father Samuel Mbugua. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

At the City mortuary yesterday, Ngige, and Wambui’s father, Samuel Mbugua, called for speedy investigations and arrests over the murder.

“All I want is my daughter’s killer to be arrested and prosecuted. I don’t understand why anyone would want to kill her in such a gruesome manner,”  Mbugua said. Ngige, who was in a relationship with Wambui for seven months, also urged the Ruiru DCI to find her killers.

Wambui’s body was found on January 17, stashed in a suitcase abandoned on the roadside. She had a deep cut on her chest.

The words ‘bwana ya mtu sumu’ had been written on her palms, thighs, and chest.

Ngige told the police he escorted Wambui to work at 5am on Monday and that he had not been able to reach her throughout the day. He would, a day later, file a missing person’s report at Juja Police Station.

The couple lived at Prisons area in Ruiru.