An emoji could be a key lead in solving the murder of Christine Ambani.
The 23-year-old university student went to visit a friend in Mwihoko, Githurai on July 12, and barely a day later, her family found her body at the City Mortuary, where she had been booked as an “unknown female adult.”
A postmortem conducted on July 19 at the morgue revealed she died of excessive bleeding after she was stabbed in the neck and back.
So brutal was the attack that the knife ripped through her neck and protruded in the front part.
Innocent Makokha, the main suspect in the murder of Ambani, has been consistently attaching a tear emoji on several of his WhatsApp status pictures.
The tear emoji is a sad face with a single tear running from one eye, down the cheek. It shows a stronger sense of hurt rather than general sadness.
The crying face emoji first appeared in 2010, and is now known as the tear emoji, but may also be referred to as the sad emoji.
The Standard is in possession of at least seven screenshots of Makokha’s WhatsApp statuses, in which he attached the tear emoji, that might have linked him to Ambani’s murder.
Surprisingly, Ambani’s last picture posted on her WhatsApp status at 8:09am on July 13, five hours after she was confirmed dead, had the tear emoji attached to it.
Last WhatsApp status
DCI detectives said on Tuesday, July 27, that Makokha had allegedly taken control of Ambani’s phone, and was posting content on her WhatsApp account and sending messages to her family.
Ambani’s family said the tear emoji on their kin’s last WhatsApp status picture rang a bell, giving them clues on who might have been involved in the 23-year-old woman’s death.
In one of Makokha’s WhatsApp statuses, he said: “Life is gradually becoming tasteless (adds tear emoji).”
In another update, Makokha said he had presented himself to the DCI after being accused of killing Ambani.
One of his contacts, as per a screenshot, responded to the status by saying: “I don’t know why people are linking you to the murder. All in all, thank God and pray He be on your side. I believe you have nothing to do with her death. I know you are going through a hard time, but I am praying you be strong, sweetheart.”
Attaching on his WhatsApp status the screenshot of the sender’s message to him, Makokha said: “Shamim (adds sad face and tear emojis), [you] might miss me.”
In yet another WhatsApp status post, the suspect added the tear emoji on a picture he had taken with Ambani. The emoji was the only caption.
Ambani’s last WhatsApp status post, was her picture, with the caption: “emit positivity. Always be happy [because] tomorrow isn’t promised (sic).”
The picture, which also had the now-constant tear emoji, was shared at 8:09am on July 13.
Gloom in her eyes
At the time of uploading the picture, Ambani’s body had already been received at the City Mortuary. Records show her remains were booked at the morgue at 3am on July 13, five hours before her WhatsApp status went up.
A DCI detective, who analysed Ambani’s final WhatsApp status picture, told The Standard that the “gloom in her eyes” betrayed the smile on her face, suggesting she might have been forced to grin for the photograph.
On July 13, when The Standard reached Makokha for comment after Ambani’s family suspected he had something to do with her death, the 23-year-old said: “I didn’t meet her as planned. My loved one’s death has left me heartbroken.”
Makokha said he and Ambani were to meet that day, but she kept “giving him excuses” to avoid meeting him.
Ambani’s friend, however, said she (Christine) had left for Githurai from Mwihoko to meet Innocent, her lover.
Booked a guest room
The DCI said in a statement on Tuesday, July 27, that they had established Makokha met Ambani.
“Immediately after Christine and Innocent met in Githurai Town, they booked themselves into a guest room in an arrangement that, according to the management, was only going to last a few hours,” the DCI said.
Authorities said Innocent and Ambani settled on the arrangement to allow Ambani, a Third-Year Bachelor of Purchasing and Supplies Management student at Kiriri Women’s University, return to school and sit her exam that afternoon.
“Makokha emerged from the room later and topped up the earlier paid amount to last them for the entire night,” the DCI said.
Police say Makokha allegedly killed Ambani that night.
Ambani’s body was discovered by the guest house’s security guard, who alerted the police.
Her remains were taken to the City Mortuary by police and booked as “unknown female adult” at 3am on July 13.
At 2am on Tuesday, July 27, two weeks after being on the run, police traced Makokha to his rented house in Chokaa area in Kayole, Nairobi, where he was arrested.
Detained for 14 days
On Wednesday, July 28, when he was produced in court, Makadara Chief Magistrate Heston Nyaga granted police 14 days to detain the suspect so as to allow them complete investigations.
On July 19, during postmortem, vaginal swab was extracted from Ambani for analysis. Authorities are seeking to match its contents to Makokha’s DNA so as to establish whether the suspect had sex with the deceased before allegedly killing her.
Makokha is a Bachelor of Special Needs Education student at Mt. Kenya University.
Ambani and Makokha had dated for two years, beginning 2019.
Ambani, known to her friends as Chrizo, was buried at her parents’ ancestral home in Musanda Village, Mumias West Sub-County, Kakamega County last Saturday, July 24.
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