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Family grapples with unanswered questions over daughter’s brutal murder


When Jacinta Achieng’ failed to turn up for work on the morning of Friday November 24, her colleagues were certain that something was wrong.

The previous night, at around 10pm, several text messages were sent from her phone to her workmates telling them that she had been admitted to hospital, although the messages did not specify which hospital.

That Friday, colleagues tried to call her several times to find out where she had been admitted, but her phone went unanswered.

A search party was sent out to her house and found that her house was locked.

Unable to trace her or access her house, the bank manager called Jacinta’s mother, asking her if she knew anything of her daughter’s whereabouts.

When it became clear that something was definitely not right with Jacinta, a decision was made to involve the police who gained access into the house by breaking the door.

They found Achieng’ on the floor lying dead in a pool of blood, her face down, with her clothes, books and papers carelessly placed on top of her.

STAB WOUNDS

Achieng’, at just 27, was murdered in a most foul manner, having sustained eight stab wounds, with one stab wound squarely hitting the jugular vein.

An employee of CFC Stanbic Bank based at the main Nakuru Branch, Achieng’, who was commonly known as “Chichi” by family and friends, had just been promoted at work only a week before.

She was looking forward to a lustrous career in statistics and finance.

As her family lay her to rest on Saturday, they are left with several questions regarding the circumstances that led to Achieng’s brutal murder.

Who killed Achieng’? And why was she killed in such an impassioned and merciless way?

Described as a humble girl with an unshakable faith, Achieng’ was an ardent singer attached to Sifa Voices, where she was on the forefront of leading the music ministry.

Her mother, Sophie Agutu is still reeling from the shock of losing her daughter who she had last spoken to just two days before the murder.

BURN THE HOUSE

The last time she saw her daughter was a week before her murder, on a Friday, during a family function.

“That Saturday morning when we were called and told that a car would be coming to pick us up to take us to Nakuru, we went without knowing what had happened to our girl, but as parents, we had a feeling,” says Ms Agutu.

According to Wycliffe Olwal, a brother-in-law of the deceased, it seemed as if the person who murdered Achieng’ attempted to set the house on fire, perhaps in an effort to burn any evidence.

“Whoever did it tried to burn down the house with her inside, in fact, the carpet was set on fire but the fire died,” says Mr Olwal.

In her short life, Achieng’ achieved a lot. She was deeply involved in charity work and church activities.

She was also a founding member of Inspiration Hope Group, a self-help group for young people and was an active member of ACK Christ Church in Westlands.

Her elder sister Mercy describes Achieng’ as a brilliant girl who will be dearly missed.

“All the birthdays of my children, Achieng’ never missed and would always buy presents for my children. I know my kids will miss her,” she said.

INVESTIGATIONS

The former student of St Francis Girls High School in Rang’ala, Siaya county was known for her love of mathematics and physics and it was not a surprise when she led her district in mathematics.

She was also one of the top students in mathematics in Siaya county.

Later on, Achieng’ pursued a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics and Physics from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

A member of Kenya Women in Physics, Achieng’ was keen on rallying more young women into the sector.

Achieng’s murder, which has the markings of a crime of passion, is yet to be solved, although police say that they are making significant strides in the investigation.

“We are following some leads, although we cannot get into the details right now. We have made one arrest and we are holding the suspect for questioning,” says Nakuru DCIO Japheth Musyoki.

Her family remain in the dark over the circumstances that transpired to the death of their daughter, whom they say led a clean and straight life.

“The girl who was murdered cannot even hurt a fly. What really happened to my daughter? Justice is what I want. If only I could know who killed my daughter and why,” says Ms Agutu.