A fugitive who fled US after girlfriend’s murder was captured in Kenya. Now he’s escaped again

Kevin Kangethe fled the US after his girlfriend’s murder. Now, two weeks after he was captured by authorities in Kenya, he has escaped again. Martha McHardy reports

Friday 09 February 2024 16:42 GMT
<p>Kevin Kangethe at an extradition hearing in Kenya </p>

Kevin Kangethe at an extradition hearing in Kenya

A man accused of killing his girlfriend and leaving her body in a parking garage at Boston’s Logan Airport before fleeing to Kenya has now escaped from a Nairobi jail, authorities have said.

Kevin Kangethe, 41, was being held without bail at the jail as he awaited extradition after he was captured last week in Kenya.

The fugitive is believed to have fled to Kenya shortly after killing 31-year-old Whitman, Massachusetts resident, Margaret Mbitu.

Authorities searched for Kangethe for three months before he was arrested on 29 January, when an undercover officer spotted him at a nightclub in Nairobi.

Police said Kangethe has now escaped authorities for a second time after a man claiming to be his attorney showed up at the jail he was being held in and asked to speak to him.

Lawyers who represented him at his extradition hearing told CNN they have not been in contact with him since his escape and don’t know where he is.

Here is what we know so far:

Why did he flee to Kenya?

Kangethe is believed to have fled to Kenya after he killed his ex-girlfriend, Margaret Mbitu, in November last year.

Mbitu was found dead in a pool of blood in the front passenger seat of her Toyota Venza at Boston’s Logan Airport after she was reported missing two days earlier.

The 31-year-old had slash wounds on her face and neck and appeared to have been stabbed on the side of her body, according to police.

Law enforcement at the time said her killing did not appear to be random. State police later confirmed Mbitu and her alleged killer had a romantic relationship.

Police said a subsequent investigation found Kangethe had boarded a flight to Kenya the day before Mbitu’s body was discovered.

Margaret Mbitu was found dead in her car at Logan International Airport

“State Police Detectives obtained a warrant charging Kangethe with Ms Mbitu’s homicide and began working with the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), Interpol, and Kenyan authorities to locate him in Kenya,” Massachusetts State Police said.

Before her death, Mbitu worked as a nurse at a nonprofit for people with developmental disabilities and behavioural health challenges in the city of Brockton.

“We have lost a beautiful girl that we all loved,” her cousin George Kamu told NBC in November. “Whenever you saw that beautiful smile, that’s what you would see all the time.”

Capture in Kenya

Kangethe was captured in Kenya in January after a three-month manhunt by Kenyan and US authorities.

Kenya’s director of public prosecutions said Kangethe had been hiding in Nairobi’s suburbs before his arrest.

He added that he had stayed in touch via phone with his friends and relatives, including those in the United States.

Police said he was arrested at a nightclub in Nairobi after Kenyan authorities received a tip.

An undercover police officer is believed to have spotted someone who looked like Kangethe in the nightclub and struck up a conversation with him, leading to his arrest, according to CNN.

He was being held in jail without bail, awaiting extradition back to the US to face trial, before he escaped on Wednesday.

Escape from Nairobi jail

Kenyan authorities said Kangethe escaped from jail on Wednesday after a man claiming to be his attorney appeared at the law enforcement complex where he was being held and asked to speak to him.

Authorities added that Kangethe and the man posing as his lawyer were then given a private room in which to talk, and Kangethe took off shortly afterward.

Police said Kangethe slipped out of the police station and boarded a bus, African news outlet Nation reported.

At the time of his escape, the station’s commander was in a meeting with the anti-crime unit in her office, according to authorities.

“She was alerted by a loud noise of officers who were chasing the prisoner along Thika Super Highway, but they did not manage to rearrest him,” Kenyan authorities said in a statement.

The man who claimed to be Kangethe’s attorney has been detained, along with four officers at the station, police said.

Kangethe’s whereabouts are currently unknown.

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