Detectives are searching for the victim’s car and mobile phone as they hold man and his lover.
Man and his lover are accused by police of murdering his wife, but did not plead to charges when they were arraigned Tuesday.
At around 10am on Saturday morning, two lovers set off to find each other in a bid to resolve a conflict that had distressed them.
But, as dark fate would have it, Joseph Kori Karuwe, 41, and Judy Wangui Mungai, 36, cruised past each other, heading in opposite directions along the five-kilometre stretch between Garden Estate in Nairobi where Kori lived with his family and Wangui’s house at Fourways Junction on Kiambu Road.
And so started a series of events that, by the end of the day, would leave Kori’s wife, Mary Wambui Kimangara, 39, dead and her white Mercedes Benz saloon car missing.
Who killed her, and why?
On Tuesday, Kori and Wangui were arraigned in a Kiambu court but did not take plea. Police were allowed to hold them for 14 days for investigations.
The murder raises concern about the increasing cases of family killings, especially where multiple partners are involved. It is also a commentary on the rising culture of “sponsors”, where young women are accorded expensive lifestyles by married men.
According to different people who spoke to the Nation, the shocking story starts a few minutes past 10am on Saturday, when a taxi hired by Wangui reached Kori’s home. She rang the bell, the gate was opened, and Kori’s six-year-old son stepped out.
Wangui offered to buy the boy pizza at the nearby Thika Road Mall, ostensibly in a bid to establish the whereabouts of his father. The boy agreed to accompany her, but returned to the house to seek permission from his mother, telling her it was “Auntie wa Dad”.
Wambui stepped out to see who this “Auntie” was, only to come face to face with her former employee Wangui, who had worked at her hardware shop in Kahawa West, a bustling settlement off the road to Kamiti in Nairobi.
She had for a while suspected that Wangui was having an affair with her husband, but she did not show it when she met her. Instead, the two women greeted each other warmly, and even agreed to go out on a lunch date together.
At the heart of the police investigations is the mystery of how the two women rivalling for Kori’s heart joyfully spent an afternoon together before Wambui was murdered inside the mistress’ apartment and her body dumped in a dam off Toll Station on Thika Road, next to Courtesy Beach Hotel.
“Wambui invited Wangui into the house as she dressed up for the lunch date, but she declined the invitation, opting instead to wait outside the gate to the homestead,” Wambui’s sister Esther Kamangara told the Nation yesterday. “They then drove out together inside Wambui’s car as Wangui’s taxi had stalled.”
Police corroborated Esther’s version of events, saying the two women left Garden Estate in the Wambui’s car, a white Mercedes Benz, had a brief stopover at Thika Road Mall, where Wambui had scheduled to pick up a parcel, and headed to Homeland Inn, still on Thika Road just after the Garden City Mall turn-off, for lunch.
Those who saw them at Homeland Inn said Wambui, known to her friends as Mama Derrick, ordered some githeri, which she shared with Wangui in her car before the two women joined two gentlemen for roast beef inside the restaurant.
“The men had arrived separately and also left separately after having some nyama choma and wine with the two women,” a source at the restaurant said. “Both women appeared to be on good terms. They even took selfies sharing a piece of meat. Nothing seemed unusual. And they left the restaurant together.”
Wambui’s sister added that, while at the restaurant, Wambui called her househelp to inform her that a mechanic would go to fix Wangui’s taxi.
At some point, Wambui spoke to her mother over an update on their uncle’s burial ceremony, which was to take place in Rongai on Tuesday.
That is why it was such a shocker when Kori called Wambui’s parents later in the evening to inform them that his wife, their daughter, was missing.
“He reported that she had been kidnapped,” said Esther.
According to police sources, at around 5pm, after a long day of merrymaking, Wambui is said to have convinced Wangui to take her to her (Wangui’s) house at Fourways Junction.