A Kenyan man being held by the US police following suspicion that he could be a serial killer has been described as quiet and humble by friends and neighbours at their rural home in Kabunyony village, Eldama Ravine in Baringo County.
Mr Billy Kipkorir Chemirmir, 45, was arrested two weeks ago for the murder of an 81-year-old woman in Dallas.
Those who spoke to Sunday Nation said they had known Mr Chemirmir as a man who just went about his business without seeking attention.
According to an elder, John Kimaru, who grew up with Mr Chemirmir’s older brothers, the suspect was never accused of committing any crime before he went to the US in the 1990s.
Mr Kimaru said the suspect never engaged in quarrels and that he was generally liked by neighbours.
He said Mr Chemirmir’s late father, Mr Joel Chemirmir, was a long-serving senior chief during retired President Daniel Moi’s era.
After retiring, he went to live at his farm in Solai, Nakuru County, with his third wife.
“I used to see the young man (Chemirmir) in his early 20s when he used to visit his maternal grandmother. He struck me as a very humble man who kept to himself,” Mr Kimaru said.
“The Chemirmir family has no history of violence. As neighbours we are yet to believe what we are hearing about their son,” he added.
Mr Chemirmir moved to US in the late 90s after his eldest sister secured a visa for him and two other siblings.
When the Sunday Nation team visited Mr Chemirmir’s birth place, only a handful of close relatives were at home.
However, none of the family members was willing to speak to the media, saying they had been warned.
“We have strict instructions not to talk to the Press. Please don’t record us or take our photos. We will issue a statement after we bury a brother we lost two weeks ago,” a relative said.
They are preparing to bury a family member who died in the US a few weeks ago.
The death occurred when they were still mourning another relative who died three months ago. The two are said to have died of cancer.
The family has complained that their son has been treated as a criminal before investigations are concluded.
“The video footage from the deceased’s house is yet to be reviewed by the investigating team to fully ascertain what really happened. For now, he remains a suspect,” a family member, who did not want to be named, said.
“In the US, if a black person does anything, they make sure they amplify it to [an] unbearable level as long as it’s a negative thing. But generally, the story doesn’t add up,” the source added.
“He rarely engaged in arguments. We were surprised to see in the media that he had killed someone,” a close friend who grew up with Mr Chemirmir said.
Texas police suspect that Chemirmir could be a serial killer.
He is accused of being behind the deaths of two other elderly women.
Another 750 deaths that occurred since 2010 are under review to establish whether the Kenyan was responsible.
Mr Chemirmir worked as a home healthcare nurse. He was arrested after Ms Lu Thi Harris was found dead in her home.