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Priest’s last six hours with his suspected killer

COUNTIES
By Edwin Maina | October 26th 2019
Murdered Catholic priest Michael Kyengo.

Fresh details have emerged about how murdered Catholic priest Michael Kyengo spent close to six hours with the man accused of his murder.

According to the police, they had a good time with 25-year-old Michael Mutunga, now a prime suspect in the murder, in the evening of October 8.

They made tea, which they drank as they talked, the priest oblivious of the plans to end his life.

Contrary to earlier reports to the police that the priest was abducted, it has emerged that Kyengo, 44, drove himself from his rural home to Mbeere.

Details of their meeting remained unknown yesterday, even after police arrested a 46-year-old food vendor, also accused of playing a role in the murder.

Kavivya Mwangangi, who runs a mandazi and tea kiosk at Gaiteri village, was arrested on Thursday by officers from the DCI Special Crimes Prevention Unit. Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti posted on the police Twitter handle, details and photographs of Mwangangi.

Kinoti said police had recovered blood-stained clothes, a mobile phone and SIM card, which were used to receive cash from Kyengo’s cellphone, as well as a notebook with details of individuals and their phone numbers. The DCI linked the findings to a cult.

Yesterday, highly-placed sources familiar with the investigations told The Saturday Standard that Mutunga had confessed to the murder.

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M-Pesa transaction

The investigators were led to Mwangangi by following the trail of a Sh1,500 M-Pesa transaction from the cellphone of the murdered priest.

A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Mwangangi had told the investigators how he was called to the house where Kyengo was on the night of October 8.

He said that he received a call from his friend Mutunga, who asked him to rush to his house.

According to the suspect, it took about five minutes to get to the house, where he found Kyengo lying dead on the sofa.

Investigations by police indicate that the priest was stabbed in the neck and stomach with a knife, which was later retrieved from a pit latrine on the same plot.

“The priest’s body was loaded onto the boot of his vehicle and drove to a river bank where he was buried in a shallow grave,” an investigator disclosed.

After interrogating the the suspects, the police concluded that the priest was murdered a day before his relatives reported him missing at KBC Police Station in Matungulu.

His vehicle was recovered on October 11 in Makindu.

Investigations took a dramatic twist last week when it was alleged that Mutunga could have been in a romantic relationship with the dead cleric.

The claims by the 25-year-old nursery school teacher sent investigators back to the drawing board, a day after a postmortem examination on the priest confirmed that he died of stab wounds.

Detectives from the Special Crime Prevention Unit and the DCI homicide unit were yet to decide whether to conduct a second postmortem to confirm claims of the romantic relationship.

“Just like in cases where claims of sexual nature are made, we are considering a second round of examination on his body to establish if there was any intercourse,” a source familiar with the investigation revealed last week.

Forensic examination of the suspect’s mobile phone, according to an in investigator, indicate that the claims of a romantic relationship could be valid. The police reported discovered romantic messages between the priest and  Mutunga.

In one of the conversations seen by The Saturday Standard dated October 6, the two referred to each other in romantic terms: “Hi dear” and “Hi my love”.

Close contact

Sources indicated that Kyengo and Mutunga had known each other since 2008 when they first met at a seminary in Machakos County, and remained in contact since then.

A villager told the police that the suspect is a staunch Catholic, and a member of the local church choir. The teacher who is not married is said to have ventured into trading in cereals after failing to secure a teaching job.

On Thursday last week, police also arrested a motorbike operator in Kirinyaga in connection with the murder.

Solomon Mutava, 44, is alleged to be the man who drove the priest’s vehicle from Embu to Malindi on the night of October 9. This was a day after Kyengo went missing.

Police have claimed that the suspect had asked Mutava to drive him to Malindi since he did not have a driver’s licence despite knowing how to drive.

Sources said the prosecution was considering making Mutava a State witness in the case.

Mutunga was arrested in Malindi town on October 11 by officers from the DCI while driving the priest’s car. The vehicle had its colour changed from white to grey, police said

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