Activist Chiloba's foster parents testify in murder case

Jacktone Odhiambo, the main suspect in the murder of LGBTQ activist Edwin Kiptoo alias Chiloba at the Eldoret High Court. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

An American missionary told the High Court in Eldoret how the key suspect in the murder of LGBTQ activist Edwin Kiptoo alias Chiloba informed him of his foster son’s disappearance and later of his murder.

While giving his testimony before Justice Reuben Nyakundi at the High Court in Eldoret, Peter Pfaltzgraff said that he was shocked to learn of Chiloba’s murder.

He admitted that he knew the accused Jackton Odhiambo as Chiloba’s friend and roommate but was not aware they were lovers.

“I had tried reaching my foster son on December 31 last year to no avail. I called him several times, but his phone went unanswered. Odhiambo then called me, saying that the deceased was not home. He later called again informing me of the heartbreaking news of my son’s murder,” said the missionary who is based in Mumias Township, Kakamega county.

He told the court that he accompanied Odhiambo to Langas Police Station where they recorded statements after which the accused was held in custody as a prime suspect in the murder of the University of Eldoret student.

Pfaltzgraff told the court that he decided to adopt the deceased and catered for his university education fees and upkeep after he was impressed by his fashion and design work, which he shared on his Facebook page.

“The deceased was in his final year of studies and I hoped that his future would be bright given that he was passionate about his course. I was just happy and impressed with the career he was taking and the manner he used to dress,” he said.

He recounted how he and his wife used to invite the slain student to their Mumias home during holidays and they would do shopping for him when the university opened.

Faith Toroitich, the deceased’s sister, recalled how her brother visited her at one of the popular entertainment joints in Eldoret where she works as a cashier on December 31, 2022.

“My brother arrived at the club at around 10 pm in the company of the accused person, who was a stranger to me,” recalled Toroitich.

She recounted that her brother was drunk and looked stressed.

“I felt something was wrong, but my brother acted like he was okay whenever I questioned him. He promised that he would send me some money the next day, but that was the last time I ever heard from him,” she said.

Toroitich told the court that she learned of her brother’s death through a friend who later showed her disturbing pictures of Chiloba's mutilated body in a metallic box that had been posted on social media.

The late student’s body was discovered stashed in a metallic box along the busy Kipkenyo-Kaptinga road in Kapseret sub-county, Uasin Gishu county on January 3.

According to a postmortem conducted by government pathologist Johansen Oduor at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), the deceased died of asphyxiation.

The hearing continues on January 31, 2024.