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Protests over missing Kenyan woman in the USA

Relatives and friends of a Kenyan woman who went missing from her home in the USA have announced a series of vigils and feet-on-the-ground searches with the aim of finding her.

Ms Irene Gakwa went missing in March and the matter was reported to the police. Efforts to trace her have not been fruitful.

The first vigil was held on July 1, 2022, before friends embarked on a search around her home in Gillette.

The search continued the following day which culminated in a peaceful demonstration.

“Anyone wanting to help search for Ms Gakwa can meet with us at the Sinclair station at the bottom of Gurley overpass in Gillette, US,” the organisers said in statements shared on various social media platforms.

Nairobi News has established the organisers have planned for a similar event of ground searching on Saturday, July 16.

Also, a fundraiser is ongoing on the gofundme website and it was started by a friend namely Ms Lucinda Anewenah and Ms Gyoice Abatey, a sister in law.

So far the missing person’s husband, identified as Mr Nathan Hightman, 38, has been arrested in connection with her disappearance.

He was nabbed on May 10 by Gillette police officers.

The police accused him of not cooperating with the investigators because he denied any interviews with them.

“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.

Nairobi News has established through inquiries to the family and the police in the US that Ms Gakwa’s relationship with Mr Hightman had soured and she had told her family members in the US about it.

Ms Gakwa and Mr Hightman allegedly met on an online dating platform and agreed to live together. They then moved from the state of Idaho to Gillette, Wyoming.

Mr Hightman allegedly used her credit cards and other information belonging to Ms Gakwa after her family had reported her missing.

Speaking to Nairobi News then, her brother, Mr Chris Gakwa, said that the family believes that something horrible might have happened to her.

“We have reason to believe that something terrible might have happened since she instantly went silent after talking to her parents based in Kenya on February 24,” Mr Gakwa said.