Uthiru neigbours narrate last moments of slain UON student Lucy Ngendo
Detectives investigating the puzzling murder of Lucy Ngendo are struggling to answer the question, ‘who wanted her dead?’.
The 22-year-old University of Nairobi student was found dead in her apartment in Uthiru, Kiambu County, on Wednesday last week.
Police believe Ms Ngendo was killed by people she knew well given how the murder was executed.
She appears to have “opened the door innocently for someone she knew very well and that person ended up killing her,’’ Directorate of Criminal Investigations detective Simon Chege told the Nation.
Ms Ngendo was studying environmental science and was to graduate at the end of this year. She would have turned 23 on October 19.
Her neighbours at Studio Haven, the apartment block where she lived, said they heard only a scream but did not bother to inquire further.
“I heard a single scream from my house on the first floor and when I opened the door to find out what was happening, the scream had died. I ignored it and thought it came from the neighbouring roadside,’’ one neighbour said.
The apartment block has only two floors. Ms Ngendo’s house was on the ground floor, near the staircase leading to the first floor.
How the killers walked in during the daytime and killed the young woman has baffled the police and her family.
The building has no CCTV cameras, complicating the investigations further.
Preliminary police investigations showed that Ms Ngendo was alive on Wednesday afternoon and was likely killed the same day.
Phone data shows that her phone was on by 9.47 am on Wednesday. At 9.48 am, she reached out to her friend, identified as Ms Violet Kirubo Matena, asking for a phone charger.
She told Ms Matena that her phone was about to go off and she wanted to recharge it because they were to meet in town by 2 pm on the same day to attend the burial of the father of Mr Ngendo’s friend, who was to be buried in Machakos County.
Ms Matena was the last person to talk to Ms Ngendo after she left her house on Tuesday night.
Ms Matena, who lived on the first floor of the same apartment block, concurred with police records that she met Ms Ngendo on Tuesday night.
She siad that Ms Ngendo was her best friend and that she had visited her on Tuesday night and left at around 9 pm.
She linked up with Ms Ngendo at 9 am on Wednesday by phone, when she asked for a phone charger.
Ms Matena told police that at around 2 pm, she tried to call Ms Ngendo but her line was off.
She then reached out to the woman’s boyfriend, asking him whether he had a spare key to Ms Ngendo’s house.
The boyfriend, Ms Matena said, responded in the affirmative and agreed to drop off the keys at a designated area.
She picked them up and proceeded to Ms Ngendo’s house, only to find that the door to her house was locked with a padlock.
“I called her numerous times before I tried to open the door but she did not respond. When I unlocked the door at around 4 pm, I found her lying in a pool of blood,’’ Ms Matena said.
Ms Ngendo had stab wounds in the neck and chest and was half-naked. Her killers had covered her body with a carpet from the legs to the waist.
“What we really want is justice for Ngendo. We want to know who killed her and what was the motive for her killing. She was harmless and we want police to get to the bottom of the matter,’’ Ms Matena said.
Police sources said preliminary investigations had revealed that there was a confrontation between Ms Ngendo and her killers as household items were strewn all over the place.
They believe whoever killed her was close to her or someone close to her was used to lure her to her death.
Ms Ngendo’s friends said she juggled school and menial jobs to pay the Sh8,500 monthly rent for the bedsitter. She was struggling to pay rent and had arrears.
Before she met her death, she had just secured a part-time job with the delivery firm Glovo, where she was training food vendors on how to use the Glovo app for business.
Her mother, Ms Esther Waitathu, who lives in the United Kingdom, in a telephone interview said that she was devastated by the death of her daughter, describing her as kind-hearted.
She said her daughter had not expressed fears about her life, and that she last spoke with her on September 6.
“I would describe her as kind-hearted and outgoing and she was looking forward to finishing her degree and graduating this year,’’ she said
The body was taken to the Kenyatta University Hospital mortuary.