Kenyan student Gift Kamau. PHOTO | COURTESYKenyan student Gift Kamau. PHOTO | COURTESY

The body of a 20 year-old Kenyan student Gift Kamau who had been missing since March 30 was discovered floating in the Mississippi River by barge workers.

According to Madison Police Chief Chris Burns, they were notified on Saturday that they had found a body matching the description of Kamau, who had been reported missing by her parents.

The body was recovered about 12:15 am near the foot of Gasconade Street by the St. Louis Fire Department.

When she went missing, Ms Kamau was seen leaving her Florissant home headed for her classes at Saint Louis University in St. Louis.

A camera spotted her near the Chain of Rocks Bridge (Illinois side) between 11.30am and 1.30pm on the same day.


She was last captured by a camera as she walked across the bridge towards the Missouri side.

Since there are no cameras on the Missouri side of the bridge, it is not clear whether she crossed over to that side.

Her vehicle was found the same evening in Madison County, Illinois.

The St. Louis Medical Examiner’s Office was able to identify her body through dental records, Burns said.

Police believe she committed suicide. Burns said a suicide note was found.

Footage from a surveillance camera showed her walking across the Chain of Rocks Bridge around midday on March 30, and tracking dogs had lost her trail at the bridge.

She left behind her cellphone, bank cards and cash.


Land and water searches were fruitless.

Friends and family had believed she was attending St. Louis University and that she had left that morning to go to class, but the school said she last attended in December 2015.

Burns said he believed there had been an issue with her grades, but that she had not told her parents that she was no longer attending the school.

Kamau was born in Kenya but is now an American citizen. She lived in Florissant with her parents.

Her mother, Catherine Muiru, told a local paper that there had been no indications anything was wrong before her daughter disappeared.