Kangogo: Assassination or suicide?

Mystery of Kangogo’s death, last moments

Ten days and 10 nights; that is the duration it took to find Corporal Caroline Kangogo, who was baptised ‘fugitive police officer’, after she was linked to the murder of two men.

And just like a cast in the ‘Crossed up’ episode of Jessica Fletcher’s ‘Murder she wrote’, Cpl Kangogo found her way where no one thought she would be. Just when the police thought they had pinged her phone to Litein in Kericho County, she appeared in Iten, in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

She was a smart cookie, who predicted every investigator’s next move and used it to remain elusive, yet she left clues of where she may be. Even without a car, she constantly buzzed through her latest travel destinations.

Yesterday morning, her final destination became a small bathroom tucked at the corner of her parent’s compound in Nyawa village, Kamogich location, Tambach Division in Elgeyo Marakwet County, where she was found dead, killed by a bullet.

A police report indicated that the mother of two had committed suicide, but Kenyans would hear none of that, perhaps owing to previous experiences. Such police reports have alluded to suicide, only for the victim to later be confirmed to have been murdered like Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei’s case.

Cpl Kangogo was wanted for the alleged murder of two men, her colleague Constable John Ogweno and businessman Peter Njiru Ndwiga, in Nakuru and Kiambu respectively.

Last evening, a trove of text messages that detectives said were written by Ms Kangogo emerged.

In the texts, Ms Kangogo confesses to a plot to kill her husband, with whom they sired two kids.Currently a senior cop in Mombasa, Ms Kangogo said she’s watched him for days but “I sympathised with the kids. I forgave you.”

On the Juja based businessman’s murder, Ms Kangogo had no remorse, saying Mr Ndwiga had conned her Sh1.5 million in a car deal she had borrowed Sh300, 000 from her dad to finance.

Caroline Kangogo

Caroline Kangogo
Mourners outside a bathroom where Corporal Caroline Kangogo’s body was found at her parent’s home in Marakwet County, yesterday./Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

She expressed love for Mr Ogweno, the police officer she’s accused of killing and whom she was in a romantic relationship with.

“For you my love John Ogweno, our love was made in Heaven that’s why since Monday, a day after the incident, you always embrace me with love and forgiveness and tell me it is well with your soul despite living in separate worlds. May our kids live in peace, love, forgiveness, success and being God-fearing. Rest well and see you soon,” said Ms Kangogo in the texts messages.

The police officer said she’d been disowned by her father, Mr Barnabas Kibor, after her troubles with her husband.

“Depression is real, please assist those you know. My divorce pushed me to be inhuman. My father disowned me due to a failed marriage. My husband was allegedly first in calling my father and my brother to cover up his mistakes and they all fell into his trap,” she said.

She accused her husband of infidelity, one she says was the cause of her anguish. She also alleged sexual harassment at her Nakuru work station. And her final wishes? Ms Kangogo wanted to be cremated, wearing her wedding dress.

“To my people, it’s my wedding day – dress me in a white gown that my husband could not afford. To my parents, I am requesting my body to be cremated to end your suffering. Remember to take good care of my children. For the things in Kasarani, hire movers for safe delivery here,” she said.

Aside from that, her parents said they had not seen her earlier at home, as Rift Valley Commissioner George Natembeya had reported. The administrator who broke the news of the discovery of the officer’s body said she had arrived at home at 5.30am and met her parents.

But her parents told the Daily Nation that they had not met her, prior to the discovery of her body by her mother, Leah Jepkosgei Kangogo at around 8am.

Kangogo’s parent’s home
Corporal Caroline Kangogo’s parent’s home./Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Despite the bathroom being located 40 metres from the parent’s main house, none of the six people who were at home or the neighbours heard any gun shot.

When the officer’s body was found, it was in a sitting position, still dressed in a black jeans trouser and a yellow hoodie similar to those she had when a CCTV camera captured her at the Dedamax Kimbo Hotel where businessman Ndwiga was found dead inside Room 107.

Her left hand was tucked inside the hoodie’s pocket, while the right hand was on the floor, loosely holding the Ceska gun that the police said she had used to take her own life. Her head was covered with a black scarf.

“It is suspected that she might have shot herself using the firearm from below the chin and the bullet exited on the head slightly above the left ear. At the scene was one Ceska pistol S/number G4670 which was cocked with a magazine loaded with eight rounds, one in the chamber, one used cartridge and one bullet head,” the situation report by the police indicated.

An earlier report by the police sent out when Constable Ogweno was killed indicated that his official Ceska pistol that had been issued to him earlier in the day had Serial Number S/No 94676, which by the time he died had 13 rounds of 9mm rounds of 9mm ammunition.

If Kangogo had made away with Constable Ogweno’s Ceska Pistol of S/No 94676, where is the pistol? Whose gun – S/No G4670 – had taken Cpl Kangogo’s life?

Elgeyo Marakwet county police commander Patrick Lumumba, while briefing the media at Cpl Kangogo’s home, said that it was under police officers’ vigil since she allegedly killed two people. The deployed officers were to protect her parents and nab her in case she appeared.

“Flawless strategy had been put in place in the coordinated approach to hunt her. Some police officers kept vigil around the homestead. Unfortunately, she is suspected to have entered the compound through backyard route instead of main entrance and went into the bathroom some 40 meters away from the main house where she shot herself dead with a single bullet,” explained Mr Lumumba.

If these officers were at the home, did they spot Cpl Kangogo when she made her way home? Did these officers hear the gunshot emanating from the bathroom?

For the 10 days that the officer was on the loose, she is suspected to have made various stops in Nairobi, Juja, Kiambu, Narok, Nakuru, Litein, Eldoret, Iten and Kabarnet, going by the phone signals of the gadgets she had borrowed and used to communicate with her family and colleagues.

Caroline Kangogo
Members of the public at the home of Corporal Caroline Kangogo’s parents./Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

On Thursday, a day before she was found dead at their rural home, a man had called the Directorate of Integrated Command, Control and Communication (IC3) and reported that he had spotted her leaving the Rupa Mall in Eldoret. Later on, the man called again and reported that she had entered a car and was in the company of a man. Later, another man took a picture of her walking in Iten, with an envelope in her hand.

Independent Medico Legal Unit, (IMLU) director, Peter Kiama, said there is need to evoke the National Coroner’s Act in the investigations into the death of the officer.

“This under the Act should be investigated as a reportable death. It requires a thorough investigation,” Mr Kiama said.

Barely a week ago, Cpl Kangogo’s colleagues revealed to the Daily Nation that the officer could have been involved in dealings with her colleagues. Investigations by the Nation revealed an intricate web of rogue police officers, operating under two syndicates in the Rift Valley, one of which Corporal Kangogo was part of.

The colleagues said that there was more to the killing of Mr Ogweno on Monday last week and Mr Ndwiga the next day; refuting claims by Nakuru County Criminal Investigations Officer Anthony Sunguti, that the officers may have been entangled in a love triangle.

Mr Sunguti said that the killing may have been an inside job, and that police officers may have been involved. “Some of the people she has been communicating with are senior officers and some dangerous criminals who are being pursued by the police.” One of the officers called on the National Police Service to protect Cpl Kangogo from her rogue colleagues.

“Some of them are senior members of the police service. She should be protected, so that once she is arrested, she can give the real account of what happened. We need to hear her side of the story,” he said.

“Her house was left open, her phone was found at the scene of PC Ogweno’s murder and a receipt bearing her name was found in Mr Ndwiga’s pockets. A police officer of her calibre would know better than leaving clues all over. Why also would she use her ATM card to pay for meals and accommodation if she is indeed trying to conceal her whereabouts?” another officer posed.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) had on Wednesday asked her to surrender to authorities, promising that they would offer her legal representation.

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