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US court set trial date for main suspect in Kenyan Irene Gakwa’s disappearance

After a long wait since March 2022, when he was first arrested, April 3, 2023, has finally been set as the day when Mr Nathan Hightman will be tried over the disappearance of Ms Irene Gakwa.

Ms Gakwa went missing in February 2022 and Mr Nathan is the main suspect in the incident shrouded in mystery.

He will be arraigned in the Sixth District of Court in Campbell County, with District Judge James Michael Causey presiding, according to a filing on January 13, 2023.

Already, Mr Hightman, 39, is accused of five felonies which are related to financial and intellectual property crimes against Ms Gakwa.

The alleged crimes include transferring over Sh360,000 from her bank account and maxing out her credit card in over 90 separate transactions, according to court documents.

He has been charged with two additional felonies in which he is accused of changing the password to Gakwa’s bank account and deleting her Google email account.

Hightman has pleaded not guilty to all charges and maintains that Gakwa left on her own accord one evening after entering a dark-colored SUV with her belongings packed in two plastic bags.

He further told police that he accessed Gakwa’s accounts so that she would contact him, according to court documents.

Additionally, Hightman is considered a “person of interest” in Gakwa’s disappearance, police said. Neither Hightman nor his public defender Dallas Lamb responded to requests for comment when International Media reached out to them.

Gakwa’s older brothers, Chris Gakwa and Kennedy Wainaina, are two of the 33 state witnesses scheduled to testify in Hightman’s trial.

“It feels like we are finally getting somewhere,” Mr Wainaina told Wyoming Truth.

This week, 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.

It is worth noting that Mr Hightman and Ms Gakwa met on a dating site before they agreed to live together.

Also read: UK ambassador says Kenyans travelling to UK to get visa’s within three weeks

Irene Gakwa’s old schoolmate recalls their lifelong friendship