Family and friends of murdered Whitman woman pray for justice as suspected killer remains on the run in Kenya

Family and friends of murdered Whitman nurse Maggie Mbitu gathered Sunday for a prayer vigil at Grace and Faith Anglican Church as they anxiously await news of an arrest in Kenya, where Mbitu’s alleged killer is still at large.

Mbitu’s body was found in a car in a garage at Logan Airport last November. Kevin Kangethe, 40, of Lowell, who Mbitu’s family members tell us she was trying to break up with, was wanted for murder when he boarded a plane and fled to Kenya.

In January, Kangethe was captured in Kenya. But last week he escaped from Nairobi police custody and is now on the run.

“It was very disappointing,” said Milka Ndungu, Mbitu’s cousin. “I remember, I was at work and I saw it on the news, and it took me back to when Maggie was murdered, and it was very painful.”

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Kangethe was awaiting extradition when Kenyan authorities said a man claiming to be his lawyer asked to speak to him before Kangethe then fled the police station and jumped into a private minivan.

Four police officers who were on duty at the time are now in custody, the Associated Press reported.

“The fact that the suspect is arrested and somehow escapes,” said another of Mbitu’s cousins, George Kamau, “escaping from police custody only makes ‘add salt to the wound’.

Mbitu’s family is pleading with the Kenyan government and authorities more than 7,000 miles away to take Kangethe back.

“We think if we get justice, it’s not like Maggie will come back, but at least we’ll have, you know, some sort of perspective,” Ndungu said.

As relatives sang and prayed at the Bridgewater church, they remembered and honored the 31-year-old “people person” who was quiet and charming, they say.

“She didn’t deserve to die,” Ndungu said. “She deserved to live with us. She was still young. She had a future ahead of her. And we think the suspect just took his life.

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