Intriguing and heart-wrenching, the harrowing case of Jennifer Mwende, a talented hair stylist who mysteriously vanished, took a grim turn with the recent apprehension of the prime suspect, Phyllis Nzula Mbithi. What seemed like a tragic disappearance on the surface has now unveiled itself as a chilling tale of a fatal love triangle and calculated murder.
Mwende’s ordeal began on August 25 when she left her salon while engaged in a fateful phone call, never to return. Concerned by her absence, her friends and fellow salonists sounded the alarm, leading to her brother’s formal report at Mlolongo Police Station on August 29, 2023.
The wheels of justice were set in motion as Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau detectives, along with experts from the DCI National Forensic Laboratory, joined forces to uncover the shocking truth. A closer examination of the case exposed the sinister motives of the prime suspect, Phyllis Nzula Mbithi, who had allegedly threatened Mwende over a shared romantic interest.
Mwende’s disappearance triggered a widespread search, with the Mlolongo OCS issuing an alert across police stations nationwide. As days turned into weeks without any sign of her, the case was transferred to the DCI for a fresh investigation.
Forensic analysis of Mwende’s last moments unveiled a meticulously planned crime, orchestrated by the prime suspect and aided by two other women. The intricate plot involved a neighbor, Faith Nthenya, who lured Mwende to her unfortunate fate through a deceptive phone call, pretending to be a potential client. The trail then led to Mbithi’s house, where the fatal events transpired.
Inside the house, Mwende was overpowered by the two women, setting the stage for the arrival of a third accomplice, Evelyne Wanza Katumbu, the wife of the man caught in the love triangle. Protective of her husband, Wanza accused Mbithe of stealing her spouse and lured Mwende to the house to confront her.
Fearing that Mwende would report them to the authorities, Mbithe and Wanza resorted to heinous violence. They strangled Mwende with a bedsheet while Mbithe suffocated her with pieces of cloth to stifle any cries for help. It was a gruesome end to a tumultuous love affair.
Subsequent investigations into the case revealed a failed plan to dispose of the body in a forest by an anonymous taxi driver. As an alternative, the perpetrators discarded the body in a pit latrine, concealing the horrifying crime.
Phyllis Nzula Mbithi managed to elude law enforcement for some time, taking refuge in Mombasa and Kibwezi before her eventual arrest on October 27, 2023. With her arraignment scheduled for Monday, October 30, she will join her accomplices, Faith and Wanza, who have already pleaded to murder charges.
The shocking revelation behind Jennifer Mwende’s disappearance serves as a grim reminder of the dark corners that human relationships can lead to and the relentless pursuit of justice in the face of adversity.