Fugitive accused of killing Massachusetts girlfriend is re-arrested in Kenya after escaping police custody

A fugitive who escaped a police station in Kenya after being arrested over allegations that he killed his girlfriend and left her body in a car at Boston’s Logan airport last year is now back in custody, authorities announced Wednesday. 

Kevin Kangethe was detained last night as he tried to seek refuge in one of his relatives’ homes on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, police official Adamson Bungei told The Associated Press. Kangethe fled the U.S. in November 2023 after the killing of his girlfriend Margaret Mbitu, according to Massachusetts State Police. 

“We have rearrested him and we thank all that helped in this,” Bungei said Wednesday.  

Massachusetts State Police say Kangethe, 40, first was arrested at a nightclub in Nairobi on Jan. 29. Then on Thursday, Feb. 8, he escaped a police station and jumped into a privately owned minivan. 

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Kevin Adam Kinyanjui Kangethe

Kevin Kangethe appears at the Mililani law court in Nairobi, Kenya, on Jan. 31. The Nairobi police chief said early Thursday, Feb. 8, that Kangethe, a murder suspect who was awaiting extradition to the United States, had slipped out of a police station cell and jumped into one of the privately owned minivans that are the main transportation source in Kenya. He was re-arrested in Kenya on Tuesday night. (AP Photo)

A police report viewed by the AP said that on the day Kangethe escaped, a man named John Maina Ndegwa introduced himself to officers as Kangethe’s lawyer and said he wanted to speak with his client. 

“The officers agreed to his request and removed the prisoner from the cells and took him to (an) office… leaving them there. After a short while, the prisoner escaped by running away and left the (lawyer) behind,” the report said. 

Ndegwa was later arrested while the four officers who were on duty that day were and are awaiting disciplinary action. 

Kangethe had been detained pending a ruling on whether he should be extradited to face a first-degree murder charge in connection with the death of Mbitu. 

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Suspect Kevin Kangethe

Kevin Kangethe has been arrested in Kenya following the homicide in Boston late last year. (Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles/Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office)

Mbitu, a resident of Whitman, Massachusetts, was first the subject of a missing person investigation before she was found dead at Logan Airport.  She reportedly worked as a nurse with an organization based out of Brockton, Massachusetts. 

“Kangethe fled to Kenya shortly after killing the 31-year-old Whitman resident, with whom he had been in a relationship, according to the investigation by State Police detectives,” Massachusetts State Police said in a statement. “Ms. Mbitu’s body was located in a parked car in the Central Parking garage at Logan International Airport on the evening of November 1, 2023.” 

Boston Logan airport

Kangethe departed Boston’s Logan airport in November 2023 on a flight to Kenya, authorities say. (Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

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“The subsequent investigation identified Kangethe, who lived in Lowell, as Ms. Mbitu’s assailant and determined that he had boarded a flight to Kenya,” police added. “State Police Detectives obtained a warrant charging Kangethe with Ms. Mbitu’s homicide and began working with the State Department DSS, Interpol, and Kenyan authorities to locate him in Kenya.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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