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Journalist Hezron Njoroge reveals how late brother’s friends lied about his death, conned family

American-based Kenyan journalist Hezron Njoroge took to social media on January 12, 2023, to announce the death of his brother, Victor Wangai Kiragu, almost a month after he was declared missing in Kenya.

“It is with deep sorrow that I announce the passing away of my brother who went missing on December 1, 2022. His badly battered body was found at the Kenyatta National Hospital morgue on January 10, 2023, more than a month after his disappearance. Reports indicate that on December 1, 2022, he was admitted at the St Francis Hospital, Kasarani, by a “good Samaritan” at 4pm with life-threatening injuries. The hospital then referred him to Kenyatta National Hospital where surgery was undertaken but he succumbed on December 9, 2022, after staying in the intensive care unit for 9 days. Thank you on behalf of my family for the encouraging messages when I first posted about his disappearance. May God bless you all,” posted Mr Njoroge on Facebook.

Victor Kiragu, alias Bigman, 32, was last seen on December 8, 2022, as per another post by Mr Njoroge.

Despite the family finding out about the tragic death in 2023, for the entire month he had been missing and was already dead, Mr Kiragu’s friends took this opportunity to con his family instead of notifying them that their kin had died.

According to a timeline of events pieced by following conversations with Hezron Njoroge, Mr Kiragu’s eyes had been gouged out and his body had multiple injuries and fractures.

The family revealed that Victor had a penchant for going mute for days at a time but they became suspicious when they failed to hear from him for 10 days.

On December 10, 2023, a day after his death, the family received a WhatsApp notification that “Victor” had changed his mobile phone number to a new one and he began interacting with various family members on the social media platform.

According to Hezron, a Seattle-based journalist, his brother sent them New Year messages, but no one was keen that something was amiss beyond the change in phone number. Later, the number was reverted to Victor’s original number and he continued talking to “his” mother and brother. It was at this point that the person using the deceased’s phone number began asking for various amounts of money from family members.

Kiragu’s number had undergone sim-swapping and the criminals were later identified to be Steve Njomo, a close friend of the deceased. He received money several times from America- where their mother is also located- over the course of the month Kiragu had been dead.

Due to the fact that Victor had in the past used other phone numbers to contact his family, suspicion was yet to kick in among family members but Hezron became suspicious when his brother no longer video called or picked up phone calls but only opted to chat on WhatsApp. The person using Victor’s number claimed the phone had spoilt and that was why he was asking for money to be sent to other phone numbers.

In addition to Steve Njomo, the Kasarani Police Division discovered that two other friends of the deceased, Njoroge and Chege, were also questioned on whether they were part of the con game perpetrated by Njomo.

Hezron told that it was wrong for his brother’s friends to extort them instead of informing them of their kin’s death but their game was up on December 24, 2022, when he noticed the requests for money had increased.

Hezron demanded to see the face of the person using them and the person finally told him to check out the Facebook profile for Bedan Marshal to see who he was talking to and that Victor had left for Donholm at the beginning of the month in December 2022.

It was at this point that the deceased’s family realized they had been talking to and sending money to a stranger. They searched for their kin in hospitals and mortuaries only to find him at the KNH morgue.

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