Margaret “Maggie” Mbitu was concluding her shift as a nurse in suburban Boston and preparing for a girls’ trip to Las Vegas a little more than a week ago.
Her bereaved family is now planning her funeral. The first red flag was last Tuesday when the 31-year-old failed to show up for work. The following evening, authorities discovered her bloodied body in a car in a parking garage at Boston’s Logan Airport.
“I’m so angry; I’m still trying to process everything,” Ann Mbitu, her older sister, told CNN. “At 31, we’re not supposed to be planning her funeral. We’re supposed to be planning celebrations, birthdays, weddings, and travel.”
Mbitu’s suspected assailant is thought to have departed the country. Kevin Kangethe, Mbitu’s boyfriend, boarded planes from Boston to Kenya the day before her body was discovered. He is still on the run. Authorities have acquired an arrest warrant for him.
Police have not revealed a suspected motive, leaving Mbitu’s family and friends to deal with unanswered questions, as well as their sadness.
“Why her?” Ann Mbitu said, her voice cracking with emotion. “Nobody’s daughter deserves this, but why my sister? Why Maggie?”
Here is the Sumner tweet:
Margaret “Maggie” Mbitu A 31-year-old nurse was found dead in a car at Boston’s airport. “We urge this suspect Kevin Kangethe to turn himself in to authorities before he or anyone else gets hurt,” said Suffolk County District Atty Kevin R. Hayden in a stmt.🤬 pic.twitter.com/tdZTrqoOWi
— Sumner (@renmusb1) November 7, 2023
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Investigations into Mbitu’s killing have spanned two continents
Mbitu was last seen leaving her employment in Halifax, some 35 miles south of Boston, around 11 p.m. on Monday, October 30. According to a missing-person flier, she was dressed in black leggings and a black cardigan over a gray shirt.
She didn’t show up for work the next day, which was unusual for her. Her employer informed Mbitu’s family, who contacted the police and inquired about her status at neighboring hospitals.
Detectives “were led to Mbitu’s boyfriend” after she went missing, according to a criminal complaint that CNN affiliate WFXT obtained from the Massachusetts State Police. Kangethe, 40, was a resident of Lowell, a suburb northwest of Boston.
According to the criminal complaint, license plate recognition (LPR) cameras had picked up the location of Kangethe’s Toyota SUV, which appeared to be compatible with the location of Mbitu’s phone.
Police say they followed the vehicle from Lowell to the Logan Airport parking garage, where they discovered Mbitu dead in the front passenger seat with slashes and stab wounds to her face and neck.
According to state police, investigators discovered that Kangethe had purchased a plane ticket to Kenya the day before. According to authorities, surveillance footage showed him leaving the parking garage and entering an airport terminal, where he boarded a flight.
Investigators have not discovered a motive for the death, but it “was not a random act,” according to state police. The police department refuses to comment further.
According to the criminal complaint, there is probable reason to assume that Kangethe committed murder based on the evidence. They claim to be working with Kenyan officials to find him.
Kenya’s National Police Service spokesperson, Resila Onyango, did not reply to CNN’s requests for comment.
“We urge this suspect to turn himself in to authorities before he or anyone else gets hurt,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin R. Hayden in a statement.
“We are making every effort possible to apprehend him and to begin the process of seeking justice for Margaret Mbitu and those mourning her tragic death.”
She Was the Youngest in a Family of Nurses
Mbitu was the youngest in a family of nurses, with two older sisters and her mother all working in the field. Maggie Mbitu got a nursing degree from Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts, after moving to the United States from Kenya in 2007.
She had been a nurse for almost seven years, most recently at BAMSI, a nonprofit in suburban Boston that supports people with developmental disabilities as well as mental and behavioral issues.
“She was warm, caring, and loved by everyone she worked with, both staff and the people she cared for in our group homes,” the nonprofit said in a statement on Facebook, adding it was mourning the loss of an “amazing” young woman.
Mbitu was soft-spoken and had a hearty laugh, according to her sister. Her sister stated she loves to travel and had traveled to Costa Rica, Cabo San Lucas, Saint Martin, and Thailand only this year.
“She was our little sister, but she behaved like a big sister to all of us,” she added. “Always trying to help everybody, making sure everyone’s OK, checking in on everyone.”
Ann Mbitu described her younger sister as “the glue that held her group of far-flung friends and relatives together.”
“She was so level-headed. Work was a big part of her life, but when she wasn’t working, she tried to balance her life by spending time with everybody, bringing everyone together,” her sister says. “She was the type of person who, if you needed a plus-one for a trip, you picked her because you knew she’d be there.”
Mbitu expressed her wish that Kangethe be apprehended and brought back to the Boston region to face justice. Kenya and the United States have an extradition treaty.
Meanwhile, her family has established a GoFundMe page to assist with burial arrangements and related costs. And they’re still having trouble accepting the unthinkable.
“We were hoping that she had just disconnected and needed some time to herself,” Mbitu said. “Though that would still be unusual for her, we were praying that would be the case. We were not prepared for this outcome.”