Suspected Mogotio serial killer leads police to yet another grave

Police officers dig a spot where Moses Kipchirchir Ruto claims to have buried an unknown male adult at Kiptunga Forest in 2012. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

A suspected serial killer in Mogotio has continued to lead police officers to more unmarked graves where he claims to have buried his victims.

Moses Kipchirchir Ruto, 34, yesterday led the police to a scene where he claims to have buried the fourth victim in 2012. The spot is within the thick Kiptunga Forest, Molo, which is part of the expansive Eastern Mau Forest.

Baringo County Criminal Investigations Officer (CCIO) Joseph Mumira supervised the excavation of the grave which was 300 meters inside the forest from the Njoro-Pombo Road.

Police said Kipchirchir had told them that he met an unidentified male adult within the forest in 2012 while working in Marioshoni.

“The suspect told us that he was burning charcoal within the forest when a man questioned who he was and what his activity within the forest was. A violent confrontation ensued,” said Mogotio DCIO Luka Tumbo.

Tumbo added that the suspect was overpowered by the victim in the fight but managed to break loose and went for his weapon.

“Kipchirchir saw he was losing the fight and when he freed himself, he grabbed his axe and went after the man. He hit the man in the head, killing him on the spot,” said Tumbo.

The DCIO explained that the suspect buried the victim in a shallow grave and fled the area, with his actions going unnoticed.

“The victim he buried remains an unidentified man. We shall be collaborating with the area residents to find out if there is a person who was reported missing during the period,” he said.

A team of residents and police officers jointly excavated the scene for hours but could not trace the body of the deceased even as the suspect maintained that he was right about the spot.

“The description the suspect gave shows that he was sure about where he buried the body. We couldn’t find the body and suspect that it had fully decomposed due to the condition of the soil within the forest,” said Tumbo.

Alternatively, the detectives said that the body may have been uncovered from the shallow grave by hyenas, which have a sizeable population within the forest.

Moses Kipchirchir Ruto was arrested on November 13, a day after Nakuru businesswoman Veronicah Kanini went missing. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

“We, however, spotted sections of loose soil with different texture from the rest which we suspect could be the decomposed body. We have collected samples to be tested for human DNA at the Government Chemist,” said Tumbo.

On December 27, the suspect led detectives to the banks of Molo River in Mogotio where he showed them shallow graves of his wife Purity Chebet, 24, and their son Ezra, who was one-and-a-half years old.

Kipchirchir revealed to the police that he had killed the two in September this year after he differed with the estranged wife over the child’s custody.

The couple had parted ways in November 2019 after he cut Chebet on the head using a panga in a domestic brawl that saw Kipchirchir handed a one-year jail term.

He was, however, released in March 2020 on presidential pardon and moved back to Mogotio.

Kipchirchir had been arrested on November 13, a day after Nakuru businesswoman Veronicah Kanini went missing and police discovered that money had been transferred from her phone to the suspect’s.

After days of interrogation and detention at Mogotio Police Station, Kipchirchir admitted to killing Kanini, 42, who was his lover, according to police.

On November 23, he led the officers to a spot on the banks of Molo River, where Kanini’s decomposing body was exhumed.

Tumbo yesterday said that they were pursuing what he termed as Kipchirchir’s ‘serial killings’ and there was a likelihood that more graves of missing persons would be uncovered.

“The suspect will be presented in court on January 21, 2022, for plea-taking in relation to Kanini’s murder. We are also preparing murder charges against him over the killing of his wife and son,” said Tumbo.