Police zero in on Rachel Kanini's friends in murder probe

The late Rachael Kanini. Her body, according to Ruai police, had visible stab wounds in the chest and stomach. [Courtesy]

Investigations into the brutal killing of a Kenyan woman and her Nigerian boyfriend have now put the spotlight on three girlfriends of the deceased.

The three have been identified by the police after call data revealed that they were in constant communication with the deceased until the day of their abduction and subsequent killing.

Detectives at the Kasarani DCI (Directorate of Criminal Investigation) are investigating the death of Rachael Kanini, 31, and her fiancée of 10 years - Olujobi Gbenga, 41.

The lifeless bodies of the couple were found dumped along Josnah Road, in Ruai on June 26.

Of the three friends who last spoke to the deceased, police have established that two of them lived in the same neighbourhood as the murdered couple.

Curiously, the young women all have a similar make of car - Honda station wagon, with almost similar registration number plates. The third friend, who lives in Ruai, also has a similar car make and colour, as the two other friends. Another link that the Kasarani investigators have noted is that the women, who live a flashy life are also in a relationship with Nigerian men.

“We just want to understand if the duo (Kanini and the fiancée) could have shared any information about threats to their life and also what it is that they were doing for occupation,” said an investigator familiar with the probe.

Traces of carbon

A postmortem examination of the body of the deceased has revealed that the two lovers were torched while still alive. Pathologists came to this conclusion after traces of carbon were found in their lungs.

The postmortem was however inconclusive and pathologists recommended further toxicological examination on samples from the two. The postmortem examination was conducted last Monday at the city mortuary by Chief Government Pathologist Dr Johansen Odour. 

A friend of Olujobi was present to witness the postmortem while Kanini’s father and a cousin were present during the examination. 

Odour, after hours, in the examination room observed that only after further toxicological tests that the cause of death would be established.  A preliminary report on the cause of death states that both Kanini and Olujobi died of burn wounds.  

Rachael Kanini and Olujobi Gbenga's bodies were found dumped along Josnah Road, in Ruai. [iStockphoto]

Kanini had suffered 90 per cent burns on her body and had also suffered stab wounds on her chest.  Olujobi on the other hand had suffered 88 per cent burns on his body. He also suffered visible injury marks on his feet and neck. 

According to postmortem examination documents, Olujobi had been tied with nylon paper around his neck and feet, giving indications to the police that he could have been tortured before his death. 

At the Kasarani DCI, investigations boss Jimmy Kimaru and his team are working round the clock to unravel this mystery murder. The police are yet to find Kanini’s car which was reported missing on the day they were abducted by unknown people in Thome estate. Photographs of the scene where the two were found show that the love birds, even in their final moments held on to each other as the tongues of flames consumed them to death.

Police found the two with a partly burnt motor vehicle tire indicating that the two could have been killed before their bodies were set ablaze. Kanini’s body, according to Ruai police, had visible stab wounds in the chest and stomach.

Her Nigerian boyfriend (Olujobi) on the other hand had visible injuries on his neck and hands giving a clue to the investigators that the duo could have been tortured before they were killed.

On the night of June 26, a relative to Kanini reported to Kasarani police under OB 2/26/06/2023 that Kanini and the lover had been abducted from their home in Thome Estate, Nairobi.

The two are said to have been pulled out of their vehicle (owned by Olujobi) as they drove home at around 11pm. This is the last time that the love birds were seen alive. Their vehicle was later found abandoned in Thome Estate about a kilometre from their home the following day when the bodies were also collected in Ruai. And since there were no identification documents on them, Ruai police took the bodies to the City mortuary and booked them as unknown.

It has been agreed among the investigators that the Kasarani DCI will handle the matter. At the scene where the bodies were found, DCI analysis of the crime scene revealed that the two could have been killed elsewhere and their bodies dumped in the area. Residents who spoke to The Standard said they were in shock when they woke up on Monday morning to find the naked bodies of a man and a woman.

Crucial leads

According to the residents, the scene at first appeared like a case of lynching by a mob. However, none of the neighbours heard any commotion that night.

John Kamau, a nyumba kumi official said: “We were shocked to find the bodies. We had no incident in the estate on that night.” At Kasarani Police Station, the DCI investigators are following crucial leads that might unmask the killers of the duo.

First is the theory that Kanini who was preparing to wed Olujobi was three months pregnant. While it remains unclear who was responsible for this pregnancy, police are probing the possibility that the unborn baby could have been the reason for the murder of the two.

Another theory that the investigators are looking into is if the twin murders could have been a result of a love triangle. A check on the social media platforms of Kanini reveals the bubbly nature of the woman. Kanini, from the photos on her, loved a good life with frequent visits to high-end hotels. She posted her good times together with her fiancée on her social media handles. For now, what remains is the beautiful photos of the lovers in their happy days even as the police dig for clues on the murder of the two.