Nairobi News


Fiancé of missing Kenyan woman pleads not guilty to theft in US court

An American man accused of stealing from a Kenyan woman who has been reported missing for three months now has pleaded not guilty to four felonies relating to crimes against her.

Nathan Hightman, 38, is accused of transferring Sh300,000 from Ms Irene Wairimu Gakwa’s bank account to his personal account.

The man also used credit cards to purchase boots and a shovel.

He also deleted his email account and as well changed her banking password.

Steven Titus, who is the suspect’s attorney, said that his client pleaded not guilty.

“Mr Hightman pleaded not guilty to all four charges on Tuesday afternoon,” the Attorney told international media.

Ms Wairimu was reported missing on February 24 by her brother.

To date, she is still missing and the Gillette Police Department have no updates on what really transpired.

The suspect told the detectives at the station that Ms Wairimu arrived home from a restaurant and informed him that she was leaving Gillette.

The details captured in court documents show that she also packed her clothes in two bags and left with someone who was driving a dark SUV.

However, the suspect admitted that he had accessed Ms Wairimu’s bank accounts and withdrawn the money with the aim of having her reach out in vain.

Police have categorised Mr Hightman as a person of interest in the woman’s disappearance but he has completely refused to cooperate with investigators.

Ms Wairimu had moved to the US roughly five years ago to further her studies and was taking nursing when he met Mr Hightman on an online dating website.

Her family claims that Mr Hightman encouraged her to lie to them about her whereabouts because she had said she lives in Arizona until it emerged that she was living in Wyoming.

Mr Chris Gakwa, brother of Ms Wairimu, said his parents in Kenya have been worried and it has been hard for them to come to terms with what happened.

“It is very stressful. We don’t even want to talk about it. You feel helpless,” he said.

Police issued a statement asking civilians to assist in locating a grey or silver Subaru Crosstrek with Idaho licence plates that may be trespassing on private property or in rural areas of Campbell County between February 24 and March 20.