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Murder or suicide? Police probe death of TUM student

Wednesday October 23 2019
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Caleb Kiplangat, a first year student at the Technical University of Mombasa whose body was found on the shores of the Indian Ocean in Kisauni on October 17, 2019. Police have launched investigations into his death. PHOTO | COURTESY

By MOHAMED AHMED

On Sunday, October 13 at around 3pm, Gideon Kiprotich called his friend Caleb Kiplangat informing him that he would visit him at his house in Majengo, Mombasa.

But as the evening approached, Kiprotich realised he could not make it as he got held up by his personal errands.

“When I got to my hostel that evening, I tried to reach him to explain why I had not visited him. He did not pick my phone calls and I thought he was mad at me for not showing up as I had promised,” said Kiprotich.

CALLS UNANSWERED

Little did Kiprotich know that his friend Kiplangat had by that time perhaps already dead and that was why calls to his phone went unanswered.

The body of Kiplangat, a mechanical engineering student at the Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) was found washed ashore in Junda, Kisauni Sub-County on October 17.

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By that time, the body was unidentified and was taken to the Coast General Hospital mortuary, Kisauni Sub-County Police Commander Julius Kiragu told the Nation.

From October 14, Kiplangat had not reported for lectures, with his friends assuming that it was as a result of the heavy rains that had pounded the county.

FRIENDS REACH OUT

Neighbours said the first year student who had only been in Mombasa for hardly two months was last seen leaving his house between 8pm and 9pm.

“We went on assuming that it could be the rains, but we continued calling him on his phone but the calls were not being picked and that’s when I went to tell some of our other friends to try reach him, but it was in vain,” said Kiprotich.

On Friday, October 18, the group of friends, who were close to Kiplangat and had schooled together at Kericho High School, decided to check on him at his house as they were now worried.

At the Swahili house in Majengo Sidiriya, the door to Kiplangat’s single room was closed.

REPORT

The friends went on to file a report of a missing person at Makupa Police Station which was recorded under OB number 36/18/2019.

Later after the report was made, police accessed the house and found Kiplangat’s phone charging and his wallet which had some money in it.

Police reports indicated that a piece of paper which had been torn was also found in the room.

“The paper is suspected to be a suicide note, but that is yet to be confirmed as it was found in small pieces,” said a police source privy to the investigations.

The body was found on October 20 at the Coast General Hospital mortuary after a search by the family and friends.

On Tuesday, a post-mortem examination was conducted with the results showing that the student died of asphyxiation which the police said was as a result of drowning.

DECOMPOSED

His decomposed body had cloths on when it was found, an indication that it had stayed in the water for some time.

However, the detectives are now piecing together details to establish where Kiplangat drowned before his body floated and later found in Junda, Kisauni.

But a senior detective involved in the matter, the student’s family and his friends ruled out the suicide theory.

QUERIES

Police are trying to determine if Kiplangat really committed suicide, of he did, then where could that have happened as he was new in Mombasa and hardly knew a place beyond the university and his house.

If it turns out he was thrown into the Indian Ocean, then police want to establish at what point of the sea could that have been done for the body to be found in Kisauni which is far away from Majengo where he lived.

His friends and relatives described Kiplangat as jovial, conservative and a bright student.

His father, Pius Rono, was Wednesday accompanied by relatives to pick the body and transport it to Bomet County for burial.

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