A Kenyan woman, Irene Gakwa moved to the United States three years ago. A month ago, she stopped communicating with her friends and family back home. She is now considered a missing person and her family suspect her boyfriend.
Irene Gakwa’s Family Hasn’t Spoken To Her
Gakwa’s father claimed that the last time he spoke with his daughter over WhatApp video chat, she didn’t look herself. Her smile was more subdued he shared and her hair, normally well kept and braided was disheveled and messy. “Make sure you drink hot milk and relax,” he begged of his daughter. That was late February and he nor anyone else has heard from Irene since then.
Irene Gakwa Had A Few Secrets
At the time of her disappearance, Gakwa was living with a man she met on craigslist in Gillette, Wyoming. The two started a relationship but it was apparently rocky. This man, identified as Nathan Hightman was later accused of maxing out Gakwa’s credit cards, removing money from her checking account, and closing her email account.
Francis Kambo, Gakwa’s father knew something was off when his daughter didn’t reach out. “She’s always been a daddy’s girl,” he claims and even pointed out that she would never harm herself and planned on coming home that Christmas.
“She was supposed to come home for Christmas this year. I was going to buy that ticket myself for her to come if she couldn’t afford it.”
Furthermore, her family claims that they did not know that Gakwa was back with Hightman who she met in 2020 and broke up with a few times before this reconciliation.
Irene Gakwa’s Family Sprang Into Action
The 32-year-old who was known to call her parents every day has her family so shaken they have dropped everything to find her. Gakwa’s two older brothers, Chris Munga and Kennedy Wainaina, live in the Idaho city of Meridian and made the long drive to their sister’s city to inquire about her whereabouts.
They claimed that their sister’s texts sounded odd and this prompted them to see her in person. Normally, their baby sister would write in a mixture of Swahili and English, lately, her text had been “stilted English” as if someone was trying to write like her. “The texts would be out of place,” said her father.
Nathan Hightman Insists She Left
Hightman is currently a person of interest for the police and the family. When he was questioned about gawker’s whereabouts he claimed that she came home one evening, packed her belongings in bags, and retreated into a dark-colored SUV. He hasn’t seen her since.
As for that missing money, he claims he emptied her account so she would be forced to call him if she needed money. He is also not cooperating with the family or local police by refusing to give over anything belonging to Gakwa in the house including her Kenyan passport. His behavior is extremely suspicious to Gillette police.
“We believe he has information pertaining to the disappearance of Irene, but he has elected not to provide that information to law enforcement at this time, “ shared Gillette police detective Dan Stroup to CNN.
Irene Gakwa’s Ex-Boyfriend Has Charges Pending
The uncooperative boyfriend of Gakwa may not be being charged with her disappearance but he sure is being investigated for taking money from her. He was arrested in May and charged with two felony counts of theft, a felony count of unlawful use of a credit card, and two felony counts of crimes against intellectual property for supposedly changing her banking account password and deleting her email account after she disappeared.
Court documents allege that Hightman transferred almost $3,700 from Gakwa’s bank account to his account and spent about $3,230 on her credit card. He has pleaded not guilty to the financial crimes and was released on a $10,000 bond.
Meanwhile, Gakwa’s community in Gillette and her family have banded together to help find the young woman or find out what happened to her. Search parties have been organized and a website whereisirene.com has been set up to help the efforts.