In-depth details of woman who died alongside boyfriend in Juja dam car plunge

Fridah Warau Kamuyu died aged 22 on January 17, 2023 after drowning in Titanic Dam in Juja, Kiambu County. [Courtesy]

Fridah Warau Kamuyu was a bubbly, ambitious and likable woman.

The young and beautiful life lover died on January 17 at Titanic Dam, Juja Constituency in Kiambu County alongside her boyfriend of three months, Tirus Maina Gikonyo.

The two were in Gikonyo's car, Nissan X-Trail, when the vehicle reversed into the dam in circumstances that are yet to be clear.

Gikonyo, 39, and Kamuyu, 22, drowned, and their bodies were removed from the dam the following day, January 18.

It took less than 48 hours for Gikonyo's body to be positively identified by his spouse and brother, while Kamuyu's took ten days.

Gikonyo, a married man, was the managing partner of a Kenyan company called Hardrock Engineering that deals in kokoto (ballast).

The Standard has now established that Kamuyu, who has been christened mystery woman in some media reports, was a graduate of Uzuri Institute in Thika, Kiambu County.

She graduated from the institution in November 2022 with a Diploma in Hospitality.

Her parents live in Dagoretti, Nairobi County.

Until January 26, the parents were unaware that their daughter had died.

According to Kiambu County Criminal Investigations Officer (CCIO) Richard Mwaura, it was after they processed Kamuyu's fingerprints that they established her identity and alerted her parents.

"We had to process her fingerprints because no one had come out to claim her," Mwaura told The Standard.

The Kiambu CCIO says the parents were unaware of their daughter's whereabouts because she lived at a hostel in Thika where she was schooling, and rarely called home.

"After graduating from college in November 2022, she got a job as an M-Pesa shop attendant in Thika Town. We understand that she met Gikonyo, a resident of Makongeni, in the course of her work. Their friendship transitioned to a romantic relationship. At the time of their deaths, they were three months into their relationship," said Mwaura.

Kamuyu was the second born in a family of four children (three girls and one boy).

As of the time of publishing this story, her body was still preserved at the City Mortuary, where postmortem indicated that she and her boyfriend, Gikonyo, died as a result of drowning.

A report filed at the Juja Police Station by one Mwangi, who introduced himself as Gikonyo's friend, said on January 17 daytime, Gikonyo told him that he was going to Ruiru to meet his girlfriend.

According to Mwangi, Gikonyo had two partners - one who lives at Kahawa West, and another at Makongeni Estate in Thika Town, Kiambu County.

"He only told me that he was going to meet his lover, and that we'll talk later that day," said Mwangi.

Witnesses, who filed reports with the police, said on January 17 at 7pm, they saw Gikonyo's car reversing towards the dam.

"He reversed but stopped on the first instance. We hooted and warned him that he'd plunge into the dam. He, nonetheless, reversed for a second time and stopped on the edge of the dam. Our incessant hooting to persuade him against reversing fell on deaf ears when he reversed for the third time and sunk in the dam," said one of the eye witnesses in his report filed at Juja Police Station.

Police established that between 1pm and 5pm on the fateful day, Gikonyo and Kamuyu were drinking at an entertainment joint in Ruiru before driving to Titanic Dam in Murera Ward at around 5pm.

Bodies of the two victims were retrieved from the dam on January 18.

"The body of the man was naked, while that of the woman had clothes on," a police officer in Juja Sub-County, who took part in the bodies' retrieval exercise, told The Standard.

Gikonyo, it was established, was born and raised in Nyeri County. His burial was scheduled for Friday, January 27 in Mukurweini, Nyeri County.

The Nissan X-Trail, which they were in, was removed from the dam on January 18 evening and towed to Juja Police Station.

Murera Ward MCA Ngatha Wambiri urged the national and county governments to fence off the dams in Kiambu to avert deaths in the future.

"I'm urging the national government, or even the county government, to fence off the five dams in Juja. Many people usually come here to relax. However, where alcohol is involved, judgement is usually impaired, leading to unfortunate incidents that could have been avoided," he said.

It remains unclear what led to the car reversing into the dam without the two occupants attempting to hop out.

Was it deliberately driven into the dam? Was the gear shift mechanism on neutral and, therefore, rolled back into the dam without the occupants realising it? These are some of the questions police are seeking answers for.

According to witnesses, the vehicle was parked on the shore of the dam before it slowly began moving towards the water.

Police are pursuing a suicide hypothesis in the incident, with preliminary investigations suggesting that Gikonyo and his companion could have quarreled in the car resulting in the fatal plunge.