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‘Noisy’ Kenyans blasted for not doing enough to find the missing Irene Gakwa

By Hilary Kimuyu September 21st, 2022 3 min read

Debate continues raging over whether the Kenyans in the US are doing enough, if anything at all, in assisting in the search for their compatriot who went missing seven months ago.

Now, one resident of Wyoming, US, has called out Kenyans for not doing enough to find Irene Gakwa who was reported missing in Gillette, Wyoming in February.

Stacy Koester, a resident of Wyoming, told local media that he feels Kenyans in the US should employ the same energy they use on social media to assist in finding Irene.

“I just see them making a lot of noise on social media rather than use the same energy to figure out the whereabouts of their compatriot. This is wrong on so many fronts,” Koester told KSN New.

“It is a shame that it is American women – and white American women for that matter – who have taken the lead. Where are the Kenyans for goodness sake?” she added.

Ms Koester, a resident of Gillette, has been organizing searches with a group of local women since April even though she did not know Ms Gakwa in person. She organized a search with horses that specialize in human decomposition, used cadaver dogs, and covered hundreds of miles.

Also read: Irene Gakwa: What we know so far about the Kenyan nurse missing in the US

“There’s a lot of vast open country and one main road may have 50 to 60 side roads, twists and turns. So, it’s covering the areas and making sure that you don’t go over those same places repeatedly,” Koester told NewsNation last week.

Ms Koester was recently hit with a protective stalking order by Hightman, who objected to her using his name and other information on TikTok.

“I was blown away by this because I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m looking for a missing woman,” Koester said.

She appeared in court last Thursday to deal with the protective stalking order that’s been filed against her.

Ms Gakwa, 32, has not been heard from since February 24th when she had a WhatsApp video call with her parents who live in Nairobi, Kenya. The Kenyan immigrant lived in Gillette with her boyfriend, Nathan Hightman, who is considered a person of interest in her disappearance.

Mr Hightman is separately charged with five felonies for allegedly transferring money from her bank account, changing her online banking password, maxing out her credit card and deleting her email account after she vanished.

Also read: TikTok mortician lists most weird things she’s been asked to put inside caskets

Ms Gakwa emigrated to the US in May 2019, hoping to launch a career in nursing and first settled in Idaho, where she lived with her brothers Chris Munga and Kennedy Wainaina while attending classes.

This is when she met Mr Hightman on Craigslist and the two started dating before they decided to relocate to Wyoming in the summer of 2021. The two were engaged and lived together in a three-bedroom house in Gillette.

Following Ms Gakwa’s disappearance, Mr Hightman was arrested on May 10 by Gillette police. The police accused him of not cooperating with investigators because he refused to be interviewed by them. He was released on a $10,000 bond and his pretrial conference is scheduled for November.

“Hightman has declined an interview request from the Gillette police department. Information obtained through investigation suggests that she went missing under suspicious circumstances. She was last seen in a video call made to her parents on February 24,” the police said.

Ms Gakwa was reported missing by her two brothers on March 20. It is reported that the missing woman and her boyfriend had broken up several times since they began dating in 2020. Her brothers thought the two were no longer dating and were not aware they had reunited and moved in together.

Police believe Ms Gakwa was taken to a rural area, mine site, or oil and gas location in a passenger vehicle or crossover SUV between February 24 and March 20.

Also read: Police trail woman who assaulted and injured 14-year-old grandson