The athletics community has been left shattered by the tragic death of Kenyan runner Damaris Muthee Mutua, who was found dead at the home of her boyfriend on Wednesday.
Police identified Mutua's boyfriend as Ethiopian runner Koki Fai and have launched a manhunt to locate him.
Keiyo County police chief Tom Maruko said the boyfriend is suspected of murdering Mutua and is believed to have fled the country.
Police think Mutua was killed over the weekend in the high-altitude Kenyan training town of Iten, with her body discovered on Wednesday.
“According to Mutua’s immediate neighbour, her boyfriend was seen in the house on Sunday morning," Makori told AFP.
"It’s likely that the incident happened late Saturday or early Sunday since the body was in a state of decomposition.
“We have launched a manhunt for the Ethiopian who is believed to have fled the country.”
The body of the 28-year-old, who holds dual Kenyan-Bahraini nationality, was found decomposing in the house.
“The body has been taken to a nearby hospital mortuary,” Makori said.
Mutua's boyfriend had been training at the same facility, police said.
“The suspect called a friend whom they were training together and informed him that he has killed a girlfriend and the body was in the house,” Makori said.
Mutua won two bronze medals for Kenya at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore.
She also competed for Kenya at the East African junior athletics championships in Khartoum, before switching allegiance to Bahrain.
Second death of female Kenyan runner in Iten
Her shocking death echoes the killing of Olympic runner and two-time world championship bronze medalist Agnes Tirop, who was stabbed to death at her home in the same town in October last year.
Tirop's partner was later arrested and charged with murder.
Her death prompted many in Kenya's running community to speak out and hold protests against what they say is a deep-rooted problem of domestic violence against female athletes in Kenya.
Police said Tirop appeared to have been stabbed in the neck with a knife after the body of the world record holder was found at her home.
A short time after appealing for Tirop's husband Ibrahim Rotich to come forward, Kenyan police confirmed they'd arrested him after he was reportedly driving a private car in the coastal city of Mombasa.
"The suspect has been arrested in Mombasa," said George Kinoti, the Director of Criminal Investigation.
"He is in custody and he was arrested while fleeing.
"He will face charges once investigations are completed."
Tirop represented Kenya in the 5000 metres at the Tokyo Olympics, finishing fourth in the final.
In 2021 she smashed the women-only 10km road running world record in Germany.
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