Fresh details have emerged on the rescue of Daisy Chebet Barno, a fourth-year Egerton University student abducted one week ago in Nakuru.
On Monday, detectives from the DCI Headquarters Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau together with their colleagues from Nakuru and Ruiru rescued Ms Chebet from her kidnappers.
Chebet was abducted by three men at Kabarak in Nakuru last Thursday and driven to Nairobi where her kidnappers spent three days waiting for ransom from her parents.
The Standard has now established that detectives traced the mobile signals of one of the suspects and that of the victim to crack the case.
According to investigators familiar with the matter, detectives from Nakuru DCI notified their counterparts in Nairobi that the mobile phone signal of the abducted woman had been traced to Kiambu.
Immediately, a team of officers from DCI headquarters together with the officers from Nakuru were dispatched to different parts of Kiambu to find the missing student.
“The first day was tough since we kept losing the phone signal. We called off the rescue operation at midnight after we completely lost track of the suspect and the victim,” said a senior officer.
On Saturday, the team resumed the hunt for the kidnappers and were lucky to acquire a signal from Chebet’s mobile phone that pointed them to Witeithie area on the border of Thika town.
The investigators proceeded to Witeithie and at around 9pm they traced the signal to Landless area in Thika but had challenges identifying the exact house where Chebet was being held captive.
The team decided to camp in the area that had been the last point of communication between the abductors and Chebet’s family.
This again did not yield any results.
The breakthrough came on Monday when the investigators spotted a red Nissan Note that was driving from Thika town towards Nairobi.
“At that point the mobile phone signal that we had lost came alive again and we could tell that we (the officers) and the abductors were driving in the same direction,” said another officer.
The police trailed the vehicle that parked outside a popular eatery. Inside the vehicle were Chebet and her abductors.
DCI chief Mohamed Amin posted on the agency’s Twitter handle on Monday that Chebet had been rescued.
“Unknown to Daisy, her friend who is also her course mate at the Nakuru town campus had conspired with her boyfriend and other thugs to kidnap her and demand a ransom from her supposedly well-to-do family.”
On the day of her kidnapping, Chebet had been invited for late lunch by her friend’s boyfriend, a 39-year-old man who lives with his wife in Rwanda.
According to the DCI, after being convinced that her friend would be joining them later, Chebet obliged and got into the man’s vehicle. Detectives later learnt it belonged to a car hire agent in Nairobi.
The man drove towards Kabarak after excusing himself to pick a parcel. But along the way he stopped the car and two more men got into the vehicle. The trio informed Chebet that she had been kidnapped and demanded for a ransom of Sh600,000 from her family.
They drove to Ruiru where they took rented a two-bedroom Airbnb and locked Chebet in one of the bedrooms. Her college mate, who had since joined them, took the other bedroom where they made merry with her partner after Chebet’s family sent an initial Sh50,000, Amin said.
Yesterday, four suspects appeared in court over the matter. They were Faith Mwende, 23, her boyfriend Simon Amaya, 39 and their two accomplices John Mungai, 38 and Elijah Chege, 31.
Police said some of the suspects were also wanted for other crimes, including a motor vehicle theft case in Laikipia County.
Nakuru Police Commander Peter Mwanzo said they were looking for more suspects.
“We have realised that some of the suspects were wanted for robbery incidents in various parts of the country. The court has allowed us to hold them for a further 14 days,” said Mr Mwanzo. Nakuru County Criminal Investigations Officer Anthony Sunguti told The Standard that after the arrest, they identified Amaya who has been on their radar.
He said that the police had managed to reunite Chebet, who was in shock, with her family. “There is a possibility of getting a breakthrough to other crimes they may have been involved in.”
The incident comes a month after Angeline Mary Wangui, 21 was murdered under unclear circumstances and her decapitated body dumped at Ngata area along the Nakuru-Eldoret Highway.