A suspect was Friday arrested in connection with the murder of LGBTQ activist Edwin Kiprotich kiptoo alias Chiloba.
The suspect is a Nairobi-based freelance photographer and was identified as Jacktone Odhiambo, 24 who is a longtime friend of the deceased.
He had joined the deceased for New Year celebrations.
Police disclosed Odhiambo told curious neighbors who had smelt a bad smell from a house Chiloba stayed with him and two others that it was a dead rat that had died therein and he was making efforts to remove it.
“He told the neighbors it was a dead rat that was smelling when they sought to know what was smelling from the house they lived,” Uasin Gishu county DCI boss Peter Kimulwo said.
He added police are now looking for two other suspects who helped load Chiloba’s body in a metal box before it was dumped at Halingham near Kipkaren.
The neighbors had seen Odhiambo with the metal box a day earlier.
Police said the motive of the killing remains unknown.
Kimulwo said preliminary findings show the deceased appeared to have been strangled and one eye was gouged out.
Kimulwo said police were informed by a chief that a metal box was dropped by the roadside in Kipkaren area on January 3 2023.
Residents found a dead body of an adult wrapped in a woman’s dress in the metal box
There were no identification documents on the body.
Chiloba lived within the Kimumu area and police followed up to a house where they interrogated tenants who confirmed he lived in room No 11 near Noble Bliss Plaza.
The deceased was living with two other men.
Kimulwo said on new year’s eve Chiloba and friends went to Tamasha club and came back at around 3 am to where they lived
When they arrived neighbors heard commotion and cries which subsided minutes later.
Little did they know it was their neighbor who was being killed.
The neighbors did not follow up and the deceased was not seen but on January 3 neighbors saw a vehicle with two people loading a metal box into the vehicle and left.
“We suspect the noise heard earlier by the neighbors was the time the deceased was killed,” Kimulwo said.
He said the DCI was tracking the vehicle used to dump the body.
He said the suspect and the deceased lived together.
He had arrived from Nairobi for the new year celebrations.
The family positively identified his body at the Moi Referral Hospital morgue in Eldoret.
His sister Melvin narrated her final moments with Chiloba with whom they met for new year celebrations at Tamasha place in Eldoret.
Melvin works at Tamasha and says Chiloba arrived at about 10 pm with a friend whom she did not know.
“At about 1 am after the new year fireworks, I met him and he bid me farewell saying he would miss me,” she told journalists.
The family says Chiloba lived in a rented house at Kimumu on the Eldoret-Iten Road.
Chiloba was found murdered and his body was stashed in a metallic box along the Kipenyo-Kaptinga road, in Kapsaret, Uasin Gishu.
Police said initial reports indicate a numberless vehicle was seen dropping the metal box in the area by a Bodaboda rider who happened to be driving by the area when it happened.
The matter was reported to police officers who were manning a nearby roadblock.
The officers abandoned their post and rushed to the scene.
Upon opening the box, a decomposing body of a man dressed in a woman’s clothes was found inside.
It was later established that the deceased was Eldoret-based fashion designer Chiloba.
The body was taken to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital awaiting post-mortem to establish the cause of death as investigations start.
Chiloba was a known LGBTQ advocate in the area.