- Irene Gakwa, a Kenyan resident living in the U.S has been missing for months
- The family is blaming her boyfriend Nathan Hightman who she met online for her disappearance
- The family is currently seeking justice for Irene and are appealing to anyone with information regarding her whereabouts to speak out
Imagine letting your daughter travel abroad in search of greener pastures, only for her to go missing without a trace and the main suspect behind her disappearance, a man she met online.
This is the predicament of the Gakwa family who are still hopeful that their daughter Irene Wairimu will show up alive despite going missing in the U.S. for months. The family is blaming her lover Nathan Hightman for her disappearance as he was the last person who saw her alive.
Speaking to Lynn Ngugi, Irene's father Francis Gakwa revealed that Irene moved to the States courtesy of her brothers, who wanted her to get an education there. Her brothers were already residing there, so they paved the way for her to join them.
"Irene wanted to go visit the States but one evening she informed me that her brother Kamboh wanted her join college in the U.S. I was against the move as I did not want her to reside there but she promised to return home incase things did not work out," said Francis.
Upon arriving to the U.S., Wairimu lived with her brother Kamboh for a while but later moved out and cohabitated with her other brother. After living with her brothers for a while, Irene decided to rent a house on her own but later moved back in with Kamboh but always complained of the weather.
It was at this point that Irene met Nate on Craigslist and after some time the two decided to relocate to Wyoming and live together. The decision to move to Wyoming confused her dad as the weather conditions there are worse
"I called her on WhatsApp and she told me, 'You know what dad, we have bought a house.' I asked you and who but she kept saying she will tell me but never did," divulged Francis.
Irene was a hardcore daddy's girl and the two communicated frequently. Gakwa revealed that his daughter would complain if he went for as long as two days without calling, and so he was shocked when Irene failed to call for a while.
Worried about her, Francis called and sent messages to his daughter but never received a response. He later got a text from Irene's number informing him that her phone fell into water and the mouthpiece was damaged hence why she could not call.
Francis kept receiving texts for an entire week from the same number but he got suspicious as they were only written in English. Gakwa and his daughter would normally mix English, Kiswahili, and Kikuyu while texting and so he knew something was wrong.
He informed his sons about what was happening and they went looking for her. Upon reaching Wyoming, they discovered that Wairimu was still residing with Nate and were disappointed. This is because they had asked Irene to stay away from Hightman after he called the cops on her and accused her of trying to steal his money.
"When Nate was asked where Wairimu was, he gave the story that one evening she went for dinner, came back and said that she was fed up with Wyoming, packed her stuff in two polythene bags, got into a black SUV and took off," said Irene's father.
The brothers reported the matter to authorities who searched the house but did not find Irene. Instead they found a shovel, drum, pants, and boots which were taken into evidence. It was discovered that Nate had deleted Irene's social media accounts, withdrew and used all the money on her credit cards, as well as changed the pin codes on her credit cards.
It's been months and police are yet to find any leads on Irene's whereabouts. Since there is no solid evidence showing that Nate is responsible for her disappearance, the family can only sue him for minor offences and he is currently out on bond.
Irene's disappearance has had a huge impact on her family especially her parents whose health has deteriorated. Francis appealed to authorities in Wyoming to take Irene's case more seriously and help him find his daughter. He also appealed to anyone with information regarding her whereabouts to speak out.
"My hope is at the very worse they tell me that she is no more. All I want to know is how did she die and over what because you can get anything else in this life but you cannot get your life back. She helped me around so much and I miss her a lot," concluded Francis.