When police constable David Kurgat woke up on July 23, he was in fine fettle.
But just after midnight, his cold body lay at the Olenguruone sub-county mortuary. He had died minutes after visiting his girlfriend Lucy Chepkorir at a rented house about a kilometre from Olenguruone police station. What happened?
His lifeless body was found by the roadside just 10 meters from the house. Kurgat was attached to Kiptagich police station in Kuresoi South, Nakuru County, and friends and colleagues say he was jovial as usual the entire day.
“I met Kurgat on Friday evening on his way from work and he was still in his uniform. We had a conversation and agreed to have dinner together in town. But when I called him later he told me he was held up and could not make it,” said William Randich, a friend.
“I only learnt later that he had collapsed and died. I was shocked. I should have insisted to meet him as we had agreed. He was a good friend.”
Detectives in Nakuru are now burning midnight oil to unearth what could have led to the officer’s sudden death even as they await a postmortem examination.
“We are trying to piece together information to find out what transpired before the officer collapsed and died. The postmortem will further aid in the investigations, because it will reveal whether he was poisoned or if it was a natural death,” a detective told the Nation.
“We are also trying to understand if the two were in an intimate relationship, since they had known each other for only a week.”
It has also emerged that the officer took tea at the girlfriend’s home just minutes before he collapsed. Detectives conducted forensics at the scene before the body was moved to the mortuary.
Kuresoi South sub-county police commander Henry Nyaranga said they were only alerted by the public that their colleague had died.
“He was fine on Friday as he had driven me to-and-from Nakuru, where I was attending to official duties. He did not appear bothered by anything. He was jovial throughout,” he said.
His wife, Ms Sophie Kurgat, yesterday recounted her last moments with her husband as she demanded thorough investigations. Kurgat had visited the family home in Njoro just three days before his death.
“He visited us on Tuesday and had a chat with the children, encouraging them to work hard; to be focused in their studies. He did not say he was unwell,” said Sophie as she sobbed uncontrollably after viewing the body.
“My husband has never been sick. He was healthy. He never told us he was sick, or if anything was bothering him. I was shocked when I received news of his death. I want thorough investigations to unravel the circumstances surrounding his demise.”
Kurgat’s brother, Mr Peter Kemboi, said they last communicated on Friday morning as he was about to drive his boss to Nakuru.
“He promised to call me later in the evening, but he didn’t. I was called on Saturday morning by one of his colleagues who informed me of his death,” Mr Kemboi told the Nation.
“We want to understand what caused his death. We want the Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss George Kinoti and Inspector-General of Police Hilary Mutyambai to intervene and expedite investigations into the mysterious death. Justice must be done,” he added.
Detectives believe Ms Chepkorir, 20, holds crucial clues to the matter, but they have declined to state whether she was being treated as a suspect or a witness.
She was on Monday arraigned before a Molo court, but did not take plea. Resident magistrate Rhoda Yator gave police seven days to hold her following an application for more days to conduct investigations. She’s under the custody of Keringet police station until August 2.
In the application, the investigative officer said they needed time to conduct a postmortem to ascertain if Kurgat died of food poisoning before charges can be preferred against the suspect.
The officer’s demise comes at a period of increased deaths and homicides in law enforcement.
Detectives are investigating several suicide and homicide cases in the service. The latest was Corporal Caroline Kangogo’s alleged suicide at her parents’ home in Nyawa village in Elgeyo-Marakwet County.
Kangogo was reportedly found dead in a bathroom holding a gun. She had allegedly shot dead constable John Ogweno and Kiambu businessman Peter Ndwiga, about a week earlier.
Courtesy Nation Africa