Prime suspect in the monstrous murder of hair stylist Jeniffer Mwende (aka Jane) whose body was discovered dumped at a pit latrine in Mlolongo is in our custody following her arrest last night in Kitengela town as she attempted to escape to Tanzania.
Phyllis Nzula Mbithi was arrested in a Namanga-bound matatu minutes past 9pm after weeks of relentless manhunt by crime research detectives who were actioning forensic-led intelligence.
In the dreadful case of a fatal love triangle, meticulous probe into the disappearance and subsequent murder of miss Mwende brought Phyllis name to the limelight after it emerged that she (Phyllis) had on various occasions threatened Mwende regarding a married man they were both seeing.
Mwende’s fellow salonists and friends became concerned after she (Mwende) failed to show up at her workplace for days, prompting a report of her disappearance to the police.
Mwende’s brother who made the formal report at Mlolongo Police Station on August 29, 2023 told the OCS that she had been missing since August 25, after receiving a call from an unestablished person. The OCS circulated a signal of the missing lady to all station commands countrywide for search.
Reportedly, Mwende had on that day (Aug 25) left her salon while talking to someone over the phone, and just like that she was gone.
After days of fruitless search for her, the case was forwarded to the DCI where fresh investigations were instituted and statements recorded from various persons of interest. Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau detectives backed up by teams from the DCI National Forensic Laboratory hit the ground running.
Investigative interviewing of the caretaker where Mwende had rented a room indicated that on Aug 22 and Aug 24, some unknown women had visited Mwende’s house while she was away and enquired of her whereabouts.
Forensic analysis that traced Mwende’s last moments revealed a non-coincidental disappearance but a well-orchestrated plot to end her life, one mastered by the prime suspect and aided by two other women.
Detectives unraveled that Phyllis (prime suspect) used a female neighbour identified as Faith Nthenya to lure Mwende to her death trap through a phone call, indicating that some clients were seeking her services at a house she (Mwende) would be directed to. In the conversation, Faith directed Mwende to Phyllis house which was the alleged house of the clients.
Once inside, Mwende was subdued by the two women before Phyllis called a third woman, Evelyne Wanza Katumbu. Wanza was the wife to the man entangled in the affair, Januaris Musau Mulwa.
Apparently, Wanza had become protective of her man and was accusing Phyllis of snatching him away. To save her skin, Phyllis plotted the luring of Mwende whom she new was her fellow paramour to Musau, and called the wife pointing fingers at the defenceless woman.
After roughing her up and threatening her with death should she be seen around Musau, Phyllis and Wanza feared that Mwende would report them to police. They hence heinously strangled her with a bedsheet as Faith suffocated her with pieces of cloth to avoid any screams.
Interrogations on Wanza and Faith who had since been arrested indicated that Phyllis planned to have the body sneaked out of the compound to a forest by an unknown taxi driver, but the plan failed after lacking the key to the main gate through which the car was to enter. It was then that they resorted to dumping the body into the pit latrine.
Ever since, Phyllis who remained on police radar holed up by escaping to Mombasa and Kibwezi, before her interception and arrest last night.
The suspect’s arraignment is scheduled for Monday, October 30, where she will join her accomplices Faith and Wanza who pleaded to murder charges earlier yesterday.