A 21-year-old university student who went missing together with her boyfriend during a hiking expedition in Mt Kenya close to a year ago has been found dead.
The decomposed body of Ms Yvonne Mwendwa was found inside Mt Kenya Forest by game warders on August 18, ending an 11-month search.
Ms Mwenda’s mother, Ms Jadrine Kanyua, said they were contacted by authorities and they confirmed that the body was that of their daughter.
“It is true. We were informed and I saw the body,” said Ms Kanyua.
The student at Kirinyaga University disappeared together with her boyfriend, Mr Dennis Karimi — a 22 year old musician — while they were hiking Mt Kenya on September 30, 2016.
Kenya Wildlife Service Senior Warden Simon Gitau confirmed that only one body was found as the whereabouts of Mr Karimi remain unknown.
“My officers reported only finding one body and the crime scene investigators from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations were called in for further probe. We still do not know about the whereabouts of the man but the matter is being handled by police,” said Mr Gitau.
The cause of death of the student, however, remains unknown as Mr Gitau said further study of the body would reveal more information on what might have transpired.
Investigations into the couple’s disappearance had initially pointed at a suicide mission and a possible abduction but detectives were yet to find conclusive information over what had transpired.
An extensive search was initiated leading to the discovery of a suicide note in a hostel that the two reportedly shared.
The note would become a contentious lead into the investigation of their disappearance with the deceased’s mother disputing that her daughter was the author of the note despite it bearing her name.
Ms Mwendwa’s friends also denied she wrote the note, saying the handwriting was not hers.
According to friends and relatives of the two, the couple had left Kirinyaga to hike Mt Kenya but never returned.
Mr Livingstone Kirimi, the father of Mr Karimi, told Nation that his son told him he was going to Chuka to shoot a video but eventually pass through Kerugoya, where he and Ms Mwenda shared a hostel.
Ms Mwende’s mother said she could not speculate on what had led to her daughter’s death but was only glad she had been found. “I cannot say more but I’m glad that she has been found. I am at peace now,” she said.