Njoki Muchemi: Family of Kenyan woman killed by husband in the US speaks out

Gary Stanton, 60, Njoki, 49, and her two daughters Andrianna Stanton, 17 and Brianna Stanton, 11 were discovered dead in their home in Kentucky, USA, in what police say was a murder-suicide. [Facebook]

The last time Moses Muchemi spoke to his sister Njoki Muchemi, they discussed fencing their family home in Kiamaina village, Kirinyaga County.

At the time of the phone call, they were a family in grief after the burial of their father Geoffrey Migwi on November 12, 2022. Now barely a fortnight after that conversation, they have been hit by another tragedy.

Gary Stanton, 60, Njoki, 49, and her two daughters Andrianna Stanton, 17 and Brianna Stanton, 11 were discovered dead in their home in Kentucky, USA, in what police say was a murder-suicide.

Southwest Jefferson County police say preliminary investigations point to domestic violence that ended in a murder-suicide.

Muchemi, a younger brother to Njoki is still in shock at the news of his sister’s death and that of her entire family.

“They were the model family, a couple who never had fights and we are still in shock on what could have transpired,” he said.

Speaking from his home in Kerugoya town, Muchemi, said the couple were admired and had the model marriage. Just a few days to the incident, Stanton took to Facebook to wish his wife a happy birthday, describing her as the love of his life.

“They were very open and transparent with each other. I noticed that my sister even had access to his phone and bank account details,” he said.

Moses Muchemi, the younger brother of Njoki Muchemi. [Timothy Kariuki, Standard]

Muchemi described his sister as a hardworking and loving mother with a family that everyone would dream of having. Her death and that of her daughters, he says, has caught the family by surprise. 

"She and her husband were conservative. They were well off and had plans to start their own healthcare company. They lived the best life and everybody in the family admired them," he said.

“My sister Njoki moved to the US ten years ago after briefly working at CMC Kenya and later tried her luck in politics,” he said.

She started out her career as a manager in the company, and then resigned and joined politics in 2007, during former President Mwai Kibaki’s campaigns.

She however left politics and landed an opportunity to go to the US where she met Stanton who was a mechanic.

“He was a handyman of sorts. He was a mechanic, and would also carry out plumbing jobs and other odd jobs to make ends meet,” he said.

According to Muchemi, his brother-in-law loved his family and had no problem sharing with his wife mobile phone passwords and bank account details.

Muchemi said the couple was last in the country in October this year during the burial of their father.

He described his brother-in-law as a doting father who loved children and would often take them out to the park.

"The last time we were together nothing seemed wrong between my sister and her husband. They were so jovial. He (Stanton) loved children and always carried along mine and those of my brothers to the park. This was the last thing we expected of him," he said. 

He noted that Stanton contributed immensely to the high cost of transporting their father's body from the USA for burial in Kenya.

“Everything went well, he really helped out, and when the funeral ended, Gary and their daughters left earlier since they were going back to school leaving behind my sister who was sorting out succession matters,” he explained.

Njeri Muchemi, Njoki Muchemi and her husband Gary Stanton during the funeral of their father Geoffery Migwi in Kirinyaga County on November 12, 2022. [Timothy Kariuki, Standard]

He described Stanton as the perfect husband to his sister who went out of his way to ensure his wife and children lived the best life.

When Stanton left for the US he would call Njeri daily through her WhatsApp to check if she was okay.

“He (Stanton) left Njeri in Kenya for one week and he would call her every day and at times he would call me if Njeri was not picking up his calls,” he said.

He dismissed assertions that there were red flags in the marriage insisting that all was well with the two.

“Everything was okay my sister Njoki was very talkative and would have communicated to a family member if she was having problems in her marriage,” he said.

He believes Stanton would also have let him know if the couple was having problems.

“We used to chat often and usually discussed various issues around US politics and life in general, he was friendly,” he said.

Muchemi said they are yet to decide where the family's remains will be interred disclosing that his mother and elder sister have travelled to the US to identify the bodies.

“I owe my success to my sister, Njoki. She paid for my university education and encouraged me to become a better person. Currently, I am working with a US tech company and I couldn’t be where I am without her,” he said.

He said the family now wants the investigations agencies in the US to establish what could have happened leading to the murders so the family can have closure.

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