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Irene Gakwa’s old schoolmate recalls their lifelong friendship

By Nyaboga Kiage January 25th, 2023 2 min read

Ms Susan Minkovsky, a friend who went to school with Ms Irene Gakwa, in a Kenyan Secondary School has recalled their friendship from sharing a room to meeting in the United States.

Speaking to a US based media, Ms Minkovsky said they shared a room with Ms Gakwa at Karoti Girls in Kerugoya town in Kirinyaga County.

She said they used to refer to each other as twinnie and their friendship grew each new day.

“I would know when she woke up each day, because she could text me,” Ms Susan told the International Media when asked about the sudden silence of her longtime friend. She did not hide the fact that they were very close friends.

Ms Minkovsky said she was the first one to move to the US and Ms Gakwa remained in Kenya where she worked at a reception of a hotel located in the city.

In 2019, Ms Gakwa moved to the USA and settled in Meridian, Idaho where she was so close to her two older brothers. It is there that she started attending a nursing school.

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Ms Minkovsky, who lives in Philadelphia with her husband, said they always spoke about how life was in Kenya and compared it to the USA. She said that they always worked hard with the aim of achieving their dreams.

She said that it was really disturbing that she was graduating in May 2023, yet her friend would not because she suddenly went silent and missing.

The two friends had spoken almost on daily basis for a period of 13 years and Ms Gakwa only went silent when they started a discussion of how the latter would quit dating Nathan Hightman.

Ms Minkovsky said that for the whole time they knew each other, she had never mentioned that she was living with Mr Hightman who is the main suspect in the disappearance of Ms Gakwa.

She said that in June 2020, she and her husband paid Ms Gakwa a visit only to find out that they were living as husband and wife. This was after the couple had dated for six months.

During the catchup between Ms Susan and Ms Gakwa, the latter mentioned that he always kept an eye on her and wanted to know every step she made in life.

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In addition, he could always insist of accompanying her to every place she was going including Kenyan parties with friends.

When Ms Susan left for Philadelphia with her husband, Mr Hightman kept calling and informing her details about Ms Gakwa.

At some point he even informed Ms Minkovsky that Ms Gakwa was cheating on him and he was not happy about it.

Mr Hightman is the main suspect in the disappearance of Ms Gakwa and is also being accused of financial crimes after he withdrew Sh360,000 from the accounts of the lady who was his girlfriend.

A total of 33 witnesses who include the owner of a house in San Antonio where public records indicate the lady lived before she went missing have been lined up to testify in the case.

In May 2022, Mr Hightman was charged with felonies related to financial and property crimes against Ms Gakwa, a woman he met through a dating website.

Ms Gakwa was a nursing student in the US, and her disappearance remains a mystery to date. She went missing in February 2022.

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