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The family of missing Kenyan woman Irene Gakwa is appealing for Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon’s help as they continue to seek answers a year after she disappeared.
Gakwa, 32, has not been heard from since February 24th, 2022, when she had a WhatsApp video call with her parents who live in Nairobi.
She emigrated to the US in May 2019, hoping to launch a career in nursing and first settled in Idaho, where she lived with her brothers Chris Munga and Kennedy Wainaina while attending classes.
This is when she met her boyfriend Nathan Hightman on Craigslist and the two started dating before they decided to relocate to Wyoming in the summer of 2021. The two were engaged and lived together in a three-bedroom house in Gillette before she was reported missing on March 20th, 2022.
On Friday, her brother Wainaina and his cousin Tarisai Githu hand-delivered a letter and a change.org petition to Governor Gordon’s office at the state capitol in Cheyenne, CNN reports. Wainaina said the family is struggling with many questions about why Gakwa vanished and all they want to know is what happened to her.
“It’s been a long year for my family. Not knowing what happened to our sister … not a day goes by where we don’t think what happened to her? Does she need our help?” Wainaina told CNN’s Faith Karimi. “If something bad happened to her, we need to know so we can come to terms with it and hopefully get some closure.”
In their letter to the Wyoming governor, the family said they were frustrated about the lack of information a year after Gakwa disappeared.
“This letter is to request your administration take steps in shedding light on the efforts made thus far in the search for Irene Gakwa,” it said.
Michael Pearlman, the spokesperson for Gordon, said the governor “is aware of the case, and the highest levels of law enforcement are participating in the investigation, including the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation and the FBI.”
Hightman, who is considered a person of interest in her disappearance, told police that Irene came home one night and packed her clothes in two bags and then left in a dark-colored SUV.
Police believe Irene was taken to a rural area, mine site, or oil and gas location in a passenger vehicle or crossover SUV between February 24th and March 20th.
Detectives asked the public for information concerning a gray or silver Subaru Crosstrek with Idaho license plates that may have been trespassing or appearing out of place in rural Converse County between those dates. They also sought information about a possible 55-gallon metal drum that may have been burned or abandoned in the county.
Hightman, 40, was last year arrested and charged with three felonies related to financial crimes against Gakwa including transferring more than $3,600 from her bank account and maxing out her credit card.
The other two counts involve crimes associated with changing her banking password and deleting an email account. He denied all the charges and was released on a $10,000 bond.
Hightman’s trial is scheduled to commence on April 3rd. He has not been charged in her disappearance.
There is nothing like a perfect murder.
I wish the husband was being drilled by DCI, we would have answers today.
Kora, DCI? DCI does not have jurisdiction in the USA….maybe here in Mai Mahiu 😀. As you can well remember, USA does not handover it’s citizens to be tried in another country. Hii ni pata potea. I feel the paain for everyone but hii inakaa ni wale wakenya wanafikanga America and wants nothing to do with wakenya. Nothing kenyan parties. No kenyan churches wa nataka za akina joel osteen na akina td jakes ma ingine inaitwa hppc ya wazungu Dallas. No dating kenyans or hata kenyan friends. Nimeona wajinga wengi wanakaa hivyo. Poleni kwa familia na wote lakini ukitengeneza kitanda yako, ilalie😉
@ Thicwo or is your name an idiot! You are a complete fool for assuming the tragedy that happened to this young lady. How about you keep your nonsense ideologies to yourself.
@#Thicwo Hakiri:~Victim blaming is uncalled for and stupid.If your rugged truck is stolen, is it the fault of the you because it happened to be hauling vehicles...? If your wallet was to be stolen in Kenya,is it your fault because you had just arrived from majuu showing off to your KIENYEJI sidechick?You should pray for the family instead of blaming the victim.
Karis, sitakutusi. Inpractice what I teach. Inhad the same crap happen to my blood brother. I said the same….alijitengenezea hiyo kitanda wacha alale. I tried to but couldn’t shed tears on his mazishi
Am not being insensitive am being real
Have to be wary of this statement am making but, oh well....after a long time of contemplation I think this time is just as good as any other.
Here we go ..
After having lived here in the states for a good 18 yrs, finally made it back in 2018. Saw things in the churches of Nairobi and it's suburbs that I never believed happened here on planet earth milky way galaxy.
Kwa mfano, hizi pesa mnatuma home zinatumiwa na some of your parents kuwafunga, then eventually they sacrifice you for their own gain in longevity, power and wealth. Yes, mnatolewa tambiko.
Matter of factly, some of us are in the process of denouncing their kenyan citizenship.
Good luck continuing to send those $$. Hata huto tuplot once you buy them, your parents will grow crops (kiasi kidogo tu) just enough to offer as a sacrifice connected to your working hands. Connected with your sweat.
But, fear not. Our Almighty God is totally against this practice as EVIDENCED in Leviticus 18:21.
Victory ni kwa jina la Yesu tu! At the sound of his name every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the father. Amen!
Huto tupentecostal churches... Hmmm!
PS//. Not trying to insinuate anything pertaining to her death. Too many young Kenyans are dying ovyo ovyo tu while living abroad and, felt time is now to say something.
I can only imagine the intensity of pain and anguish her family are going through! I am praying that the monster involved in her disappearance will for once have some mercy and remorse; at least do one moral or ethical thing & let her family know what he did to her! Whether good, bad or ugly, just say the truth man! Her family are not leading lives worth living for! Have some conscience and do the right thing!