Ghost of Careen Chepchumba yet to rest six years later

Friday June 15 2018

An undated photo of slain Careen Chepchumba. She was found dead in her house on Valentine’s Day 2012. FILE PHOTO


When an inquest into the death of Careen Chepchumba, a friend of former TV news anchor Louis Otieno, started four years after her demise, hope was rekindled that justice would be done at last.

But this was not to be after a magistrate ruled that police bungled the investigations leaving gaps that made it hard for the court to convict anyone.


The ruling, with recommendations for a fresh probe into the death of the Kenya Power employee, seems to have marked the beginning of another clash between Careen's family and Otieno, who was a suspect.

Careen was murdered six years ago inside her apartment at Santonia Court, Kilimani, on February 12, 2012

The court recommended that Otieno be subjected to fresh tests to establish whether he was involved in the death.


The court found that police bungled the investigations and recommended that the director of public prosecutions direct fresh inquiry into the murder.

Otieno denied killing Careen or ever having a romantic affair with her.

He, however, admitted that she was his friend.

In his ruling, the magistrate stated that Careen did not kill herself, and that her death was not an accident.


“The cause of Careen’s death was not suicide; it was not accidental,” he ruled.

“The cause of death of Careen Chepchumba Kili cannot be said to be undetermined. The cause was strangulation. These are inevitable findings.”

The court found that police cleared Otieno of involvement in the murder even before carrying out forensic analysis on his and Careen’s phones to establish where he was at the time of the crime.

“Having found no eyewitness, forensic evidence was the sure key to unlock criminal culpability of some known person or persons,” the inquest found

“In fact, this investigation was hinged and turned on a composite of two key evidence namely forensic and circumstantial.”

It recommended that samples of Otieno’s finger nails be taken in the presence of the head of government chemist who shall take them immediately after documentation by police.


Reacting to the ruling Otieno, through lawyer Norman Magaya, said he would cooperate with investigators if the DPP opens a fresh probe but with conditions.

Pointing out that police bungled investigations, Mr Charles Ondieki, the magistrate, wondered how nail clippings taken by police from Otieno turned out to be of Careen during analysis by experts at the government chemist.

The court directed that the mix-up of the clippings be investigated too.

But it seems the ghost of Careen won't rest soon. 

Otieno says he can only participate in a fresh investigation if the father of Careen, Hosea Kili, takes a DNA test.

In a letter to the director of public prosecutions, through Magaya, Otieno has set five conditions that should be met before he is subjected to the fresh investigation.


Otieno wants DNA samples taken from Kili and his son, Emmanuel, for testing.

During the inquest, Otieno claimed Careen was a victim of sexual abuse by his father.

He alleged that Careen confided to him that Kili was not her biological father.

The court dismissed the allegations, saying they could not be proved.

The former journalist argued that the ruling by Ondieki had procedural lapses.

Kili accused Otieno of extorting money from his daughter, leaving her with a mountain of debts.


According to court records, Emmanuel was the first person to arrive at Careen’s house at Santonia Court Apartments in Kilimani, Nairobi, in 2012 when she was found dead. 

Though the court found that police did not subject Otieno's phones to forensic analysis, he now wants an analysis of the Careen's phone coordinates.

According to Otieno, the details he is demanding were not presented in court during the murder inquest.

He is also asking the DPP to provide original statements recorded by security guards at Santonia Court Apartments. 

Otieno says the guards had confirmed that he did not visit Careen during the week she was murdered.

As the DPP ponders if he will open a fresh probe into the murder, the killer of Careen Chepchumba and his or her motive remain a mystery.