A man accused of killing his girlfriend in the US reportedly escaped from a Kenyan police station where he was being held without encountering any resistance.
Kelvin Kangethe, 41, was apprehended last week while leaving a club in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, following a months-long search.
A court had granted permission for his detention for 30 days pending possible extradition.
Authorities allege that after Mr. Kangethe murdered his girlfriend last October, he left her body in a car at Boston Logan International Airport before boarding a flight to Kenya, his home country.
He has not responded to the allegations.
Kenyan police have surprised the public by revealing that Mr. Kangethe managed to leave the Muthaiga Police Station where he was detained on Wednesday afternoon.
According to police, Mr. Kangethe fled during a meeting in a private room with a man who claimed to be his lawyer.
“After a brief period, the prisoner fled while the lawyer was left behind,” the police statement said.
At the time, all officers were attending a separate meeting called by the station’s head.
An eyewitness near the station said that Mr. Kangethe, dressed in a black jacket, was pursued by police.
“We assumed he was being chased for jaywalking. People watched him run away,” the witness stated.
“If we knew why he was wanted, we would have assisted in his arrest.”
Police acknowledge their failure to apprehend Mr. Kangethe, whose current whereabouts are unknown.
Nairobi police commander Adamson Bungei informed local media that four officers on duty and the individual who met Mr. Kangethe have been detained.
Mr. Bungei referred to the security lapse as “embarrassing” for the Kenyan police, who have initiated a renewed search for Mr. Kangethe.
Access to the station is restricted as officers fear further leaks of information to the public.
The family of Mr. Kangethe’s girlfriend, Margaret Mbitu, informed US media that she had intended to end their relationship before her alleged murder.
Ms. Mbitu, a 30-year-old Kenyan-American nurse based in Halifax, Massachusetts, was last seen leaving her workplace on the evening of October 30 last year.
She was reported missing the same day, and her body was discovered two days later.
Authorities believe Mr. Kangethe departed the US during the period between Ms. Mbitu’s disappearance and the discovery of her body.
They linked him to the murder after surveillance footage captured him leaving the airport parking lot where Ms. Mbitu’s body was found.
He boarded a flight the morning after Ms. Mbitu went missing.
A Kenyan court was set to decide on Friday whether Mr. Kangethe should be tried in Kenya or extradited to face first-degree murder charges in the US after claiming to have renounced his US citizenship last year.