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Student who disappeared with boyfriend on Mt Kenya found dead

A 21-year-old university student who went missing together with her boyfriend during a hiking expedition in Mt Kenya close to a year ago has been found dead.

The decomposed body of Ms Yvonne Mwendwa was found in Mt Kenya Forest by game wardens on Friday, ending an 11-month search.

Ms Mwendwa’s mother, Ms Jadrine Kanyua, said they were contacted by authorities and they confirmed that the body was that o her daughter.

“It is true. We were informed and I saw the body,” said Ms Kanyua.

21 year-old university student Yvonne Mwendwa
21 year-old university student Yvonne Mwendwa

The student at Kirinyaga University in Nyeri County disappeared together with her boyfriend, 22-year-old musician Dennis Kirimi, while hiking Mt Kenya on September 30 last year.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Senior Warden Simon Gitau confirmed that only one body was found as the whereabouts of Mr Kirimi remained unknown.

“My officers reported only finding one body and the crime scene investigators from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations were called in for further probe,” said Mr Gitau. “We still do not know about the whereabouts of the man but the matter is being handled by police.”

The cause of death of the student however remains unknown as Mr Gitau said a further study of the body would reveal more information.

Investigations had initially pointed at a suicide pact or a possible abduction but detectives were yet to find conclusive information on what transpired. An extensive search led to the discovery of a suicide note in a hostel in Kerugoya, Kirinyaga County, that the two reportedly shared.

Dennis Karimi, a 22 year-old musician. PHOTO | COURTESY
Dennis Karimi, a 22 year-old musician. PHOTO | COURTESY

The note would become a contentious lead into the investigation of their disappearance with the deceased’s mother disputing that her daughter was the author of the note despite it bearing her name.

Ms Mwendwa’s friends also doubted that she wrote the note, saying the handwriting was not hers.

Friends and relatives of the two said the couple had left Kirinyaga to hike Mt Kenya but never returned.

Mr Livingstone Kirimi, the father of Mr Kirimi, told the Nation that his son told him he was going to Chuka, in Tharaka-Nithi County, to shoot a video but eventually pass through Kerugoya.

“I cannot say more but I’m glad that she has been found. I am at peace now,” said Ms Kanyua at the weekend.

On the fateful day, a taxi driver they had hired told wardens that they had asked him to wait for them.