Veteran Machakos journalist Jennifer Itumbi Wambua who went missing on March 12, 2021.
The body of a senior officer with the National Land Commission (NLC), veteran Machakos journalist Jennifer Itumbi Wambua, was on Monday discovered at the Ngong Forest. This was confirmed by Kilimani DCIO, Fatima Hadi, at the City Mortuary where her body was taken by the police. Her body was positively identified by her husband. Ms Wambua, a former bureau chief with the Kenya News Agency (KNA) in Machakos, was last seen on Friday morning, March 12, when her husband dropped her off at work. Ms Wambua did not return home from work on Friday and she had not been traced by Sunday evening. NLC acting chief executive, Kabale Tache Arero, and NLC chairperson, Gershom Otachi, were present at City Mortuary after news broke of discovery of her body today. Family lawyer Daniel Maanzo says Jennifer was a key State witness in several corruption cases, and was due to testify in one of them tomorrow. According to the acting NLC boss, Ms Wambua had asked for some time off since Monday last week, saying she felt depressed.“She came to see me in the office on Monday March 8. She narrated how she had an accident the previous weekend and even showed me photographs of her damaged car,” Ms Arero said, adding she granted her five days leave to cool off.
Handbag in car
Her husband, Joseph Komu, said after dropping her to work at the commission’s offices on Friday morning, he was surprised to find her handbag and her mobile phone in the family car hours later, while at a garage. Mr Komu works with the Ministry of Agriculture at Kilimo House, a walking distance from her work place. The car was parked at a nearby parking yard. He said it appeared that she came back to the car, dropped her handbag which contained her mobile phone, but cannot tell what happened thereafter. “I picked the car at around 11am and went to the garage where I discovered my wife’s handbag and her phone. After the car was fixed, I drove to her office to drop the items but was shocked when her colleagues told me she had not been seen that day,” said the distraught husband. On Saturday morning, after she failed to show up the previous night, Mr Komu says he drove back to NLC offices and proceeded to report the matter at Capitol Hill Police Station.
Detectives visited the commission’s offices and retrieved CCTV footage to trace her movements from the time she was dropped by her husband. Preliminary investigations show that she indeed reported to her fourth floor office at ACK Annex adjacent to Ardhi House, according to CCTV footage, but was seen walking out about an hour later. In both moments captured by cameras — while alighting from the building’s lift and later as she exited the offices — she is seen carrying her handbag. “Already, detectives have retrieved CCTV footage at her place of work and preliminary investigations show that she entered her fourth floor office and later left carrying her handbag, an hour later,” said Mr Komu. However, detectives are puzzled how her mobile phone was hours later found in her husband’s car that was parked near the office. “It appears she was either kidnapped at the parking lot after she opened the car and put the handbag containing her mobile phone, or she willingly dropped the items in the car and left,” the distraught husband told Nation by telephone. He said his wife’s failure to show up at home for a third night has heightened anxiety in the family. Mr Komu was Sunday questioned by detectives at the DCI headquarters and recorded a statement with the team tracing the journalist’s whereabouts. The couple resided in Machakos town. – nation.co.ke