A court on Monday ordered police to continue holding the prime suspect in the murder of athlete Agnes Tirop as the family instituted a legal process to secure her property.
According to police sources, a third suspect who is in custody was arrested for handling property belonging to Tirop, but whose ownership has since changed hands.
And the late Tirop’s family, which says one of the plots was recently sold at Sh9 million, wants to obtain a caveat to protect her property, alleging a plot by the suspect to ‘secretly’ dispose of some of the property.
Ibrahim Rotich, whom the court Monday allowed to be detained for 20 more days, is the prime suspect in the killing of his lover.
“We want to ensure that the property is safe, though we are grieving for the loss,” said Jeremiah Sawe, the family spokesman.
He said Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei and Athletics Kenya have offered to provide legal representation.
Among the property are six plots at Kesses near Moi University, a plot and house at Kipkorgott estate on the outskirts of Eldoret town and a missing car.
“Available documents indicate that one of the plots was recently sold at Sh9 million, while the plot and house at Iten where she was founded murdered, are in the name of the suspect,” claimed Sawe.
According to multiple police sources, an unidentified woman who was spotted at the athlete’s home a day before her body was discovered is still at large.
“Detectives have had statements from multiple witnesses, including friends of the two, which have aided our investigations. Positively identifying the woman won’t be an issue,” explained Keiyo North sub-county police commander Tom Makori in an earlier interview.
Among those arrested is Rotich’s friend, John Kipkoech Samoei, who drove the athlete — who took part in the Tokyo Olympics — from a training camp to her house, where she was later found dead.
On Monday there was tight security at the Iten law courts in Elgeyo Marakwet County when Rotich appeared before Senior Principal Magistrate Charles Kutwa over last Wednesday’s killing of the athlete.
Rotich appeared in court at 9.30am, escorted by more than 10 armed police officers, as the crowd scrambled to catch a glimpse of him.
The court was secured by police and private security guards, who only allowed the legal team, Judiciary staff and the media access.
Kutwa ordered detectives to detain the suspect for 20 more days at the Eldoret Central Police Station following an application by the prosecution.
He further directed the suspect taken for mental assessment at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret to determine his fitness to stand trial.
“Since this is a matter revolving around a murder case, I do direct that it be mentioned at Eldoret High Court on 9th November for further directions,” ordered Kutwa.
Senior Director of Public Prosecutions Judith Ayuma had told the court that detectives were yet to complete investigations, and would likely apprehend more suspects.
“I plead for more time to allow detectives to piece together more information with the hope of arresting more suspects linked to the murder,” said Ayuma.
Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations from Nairobi and Mombasa, where Rotich was arrested, are heading the investigations.
The athlete will be buried at her parents’ home at Kapnyamisa village in Nandi County on Saturday.
“We want to give her a befitting send-off because we loved her. She was a hard-working girl and touched many lives,” said Sawe, adding that many people were expected to attend the burial because Tirop was an international athlete and a friend of many.