ISEBANIA, Kenya — In a significant breakthrough for a murder investigation that has gripped Kenya, police detectives arrested Denis Ondara, 40, the prime suspect in the brutal slaying of a US-based Kenyan couple two months ago.
Ondara, who had evaded authorities and hid in Nairobi’s Ruai area, was apprehended at the Isebania border crossing on Friday night. He was reportedly armed with a loaded Ceska pistol and a collection of tools believed to be used in vehicle break-ins, such as spanners, nuts, screwdrivers, and pliers.
The victims, Edward Morema, 62, and his wife, Grace Mongina, 58, were residents of Minneapolis, Minnesota, who had recently returned to Kenya for a holiday. The pair were slain in their home in Nyamakoroto village, Nyamira County.
“The suspect is believed to be behind the murders of Morema and Mongina,” said Robert Ndambiri, the Masaba North Police Commander.
On March 21, 2023, a domestic helper and a farm laborer discovered the couple’s lifeless bodies after they failed to show up for breakfast. Mrs. Mongina was found in a pool of blood on a bed, and Mr. Morema was discovered in the garage. Both bodies bore deep head wounds, and their limbs were bound with electrical cables. Pieces of cloth had been used to gag them.
An autopsy concluded that the cause of death was strangulation and blunt force injuries to the head and upper limbs, the grisly details of which sent shockwaves through the community and beyond.
Authorities also believe Ondara is connected to a series of violent robberies and murders across several counties, including Nairobi, Nyamira, Homabay, Kisii, and Migori.
The killings of the couple, who were interred in a tearful ceremony in April, prompted their grieving relatives to seek the assistance of the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Administration of National Government, Professor Kithure Kindiki. The family, including the couple’s children, who expressed living in fear during the funeral, implored for justice for the heinous act.
Ondara is the third person arrested in connection with the couple’s murder, marking a significant step towards justice for a crime that has cast a shadow over a community and a nation.