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More arrests loom as probe into Syombua, children's killings intensify

Sunday November 17 2019

Major Peter Mwaura

A Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) officer Major Peter Mwaura, suspected of killing his estranged wife Joyce Syombua and two children, is led away by military police and detectives after he was arrested. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NICHOLAS KOMU
By NICHOLAS KOMU
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More arrests are expected following the killing of the estranged wife of a soldier and her two children as homicide detectives and forensic experts from the Directorate of Criminal Investigation headquarters pitched camp on Sunday at the Laikipia Airbase in Nanyuki.

Following discovery of the bodies at a public cemetery on Saturday evening, detectives are now pursuing leads that the main suspect, Major Peter Mwaura, had accomplices in the killings.

After searching his house for several hours on Saturday, police now believe the murders were committed inside the army barracks. And now, detectives are trying to piece together how the soldier managed to sneak the three bodies out of the military facility undetected.

COVER UP

Sources within the police department revealed that preliminary findings have placed the possible murder scene inside the Laikipia Airbase leading investigators to suspect Major Mwaura had help from inside.

“It looks like he did it from inside the barracks definitely. Maybe he was helped by someone from within,” an officer who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case told the Nation.

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Already, the Nation has learned that police have placed in custody and questioned two more people believed to have been involved in the murder and cover up.

A taxi operator who is yet to be identified is said to have told police in his statement that Major Mwaura sent him to purchase three gunny bags around the time the family disappeared. On Saturday, the three bodies found at Thingithu were stuffed in gunny bags.

At the same time, police reports also suggest that a casual worker at the military base identified as Collins Pamba has also been placed in custody in connection with the killings.

Mr Pamba is said to have helped the army man bury the bodies at the public cemetery where the government disposes unclaimed bodies.

MISSING

Joyce Syombua, 31, and her two children, Shanice Maua, 10 and five-year-old Prince Michael, were reported missing on October 27 after spending two days at Major Mwaura’s home.

Ms Joyce Syombua (left) and her children
Ms Joyce Syombua (left) and her children Shanice Maua and Prince Michael, who have been missing since October 26. Her estranged husband on November 16, 2019 led police to three bodies dumped in a shallow grave at a cemetery in Nanyuki. PHOTO | POOL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

They had arrived at the Laikipia Airbase Barracks on October 25 where they were staying with the army man.

While police are trying to piece up the timeline of the murders, it has been reported that the suspect left the house with the children a day after they arrived at the base.

Syombua had apparently gone to fresh up, but afterwards found out that Major Mwaura had taken the children for a walk within the military base.

When he returned, the military officer reportedly claimed he had left the two children with a friend as he wanted to have a private conversation with his estranged wife.

TRIPLE HOMICIDE

But in his statement to detectives, Major Mwaura did not give finer details of what transpired on that morning.

As investigations into their disappearance took off, he told police that he took Syombua and their two children to Nanyuki bus terminus where they boarded a matatu under 4NTE Sacco.

The trio, however, never arrived at their home in Kayole, Nairobi, raising suspicion over their safety. A missing person report was initially made at the Soweto Police Station and the same relayed to Nanyuki Police Station, prompting investigations into the disappearance.

The discovery of her cellphone inside one of the matatus would later open a can of worms into what is turning out to be a brutal triple homicide and a well calculated cover up.

Major Mwaura is expected to be arraigned on Monday.