A man accused of killing his girlfriend in Boston before fleeing to Kenya has escaped from a Nairobi jail, where he was awaiting extradition after his capture last week.
Kevin Kangethe, 42, was being held without bail after officials in the United States filed an extradition request for him to be returned to the US to face a murder charge.
He’s accused of killing his girlfriend, Maggie Mbitu, whose body was found in his SUV in a parking garage at Boston Logan International Airport on November 1, two days after she was reported missing. Mbitu, 31, had slash wounds on her face and neck, Massachusetts State Police said.
Authorities searched for Kangethe for three months before he was arrested January 29, when an undercover officer spotted him at a nightclub in Nairobi.
On Wednesday evening local time, a man claiming to be Kangethe’s attorney appeared at the law enforcement complex where he was being held and asked to speak to him, Kenyan authorities said in a statement. They were given a private room in which to talk, and Kangethe took off shortly afterward, police said.
Police said Kangethe slipped out of the police station and boarded a matutu, or public transportation bus, according to Nation, an African news outlet.
At the time of his escape, the station’s commander was in a meeting with the anti-crime unit in her office, police said.
“She was alerted by a loud noise of officers who were chasing the prisoner along Thika Super Highway but they did not manage to rearrest him,” the statement said, referring to a busy eight-lane freeway bustling with cars in the capital.
The man who claimed to be Kangethe’s attorney has been detained, along with four officers at the station, police said.
He was arrested 3 months after he boarded a flight from Boston
Within hours, authorities identified him as the Boston-area fugitive who US investigators said boarded a plane to Kenya shortly after killing his girlfriend. Authorities in Massachusetts had obtained a warrant for his arrest on a murder charge.
Kangethe arrived in Kenya last fall through Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the nation’s director of public prosecutions said in a statement. He went into hiding in the city’s suburbs but stayed in touch via phone with his friends and relatives, including those in the United States, the statement said.
Kenya has an extradition treaty with the United States. The nation’s director of public prosecutions said Kenya has received a formal extradition request from the US and determined there’s “sufficient evidence” against him.
Mbitu lived in a Boston suburb and was the youngest in a family of health care workers. Her two older sisters and her mother are all nurses.
She was reported missing in late October after she didn’t show up for work. Her family notified the police and called nearby hospitals to check if she was a patient. The next evening, police made a gruesome discovery: her bloodied body, in the SUV inside a parking garage at the airport.
In a criminal complaint from the Massachusetts State Police, authorities say they “were led to Mbitu’s boyfriend” after she went missing.
The day before her body was found, Kangethe boarded flights from Boston to Kenya. Surveillance footage showed him leaving the parking garage and entering an airport terminal, police said.