NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The husband of Olympic runner Agnes Tirop has been arrested and will be charged with her murder after Kenyan police launched a nationwide manhunt and found him in the coastal city of Mombasa trying to flee the country, authorities said.

Ibrahim Rotich was taken into custody just before 9:15 p.m. on Thursday. He had crashed his car into a truck during a chase with officers and managed to escape a second attempt by police to arrest him. The incident took place approximately 460 km (285 miles) away from Mombasa. He was eventually arrested in the eastern town hours later.

Rotich, who was detained on Tuesday, was located at the home of Tirop (a two-time bronze medalist in the world championships), where she was found fatally stabbed. Rotich is more than 800km from Mombasa, the opposite side of the country. The 25-year-old Tirop’s body was found in a pool of blood with stab wounds in the abdomen, police said.

Rotich was instantly identified as the prime suspect. According to police, he ran after calling his family in tears and confessing to something awful. Rotich was arrested alongside another man he was traveling with and had Tirop’s cell phone with him, police said.

Agnes Tirop (a world champion bronze medalist in swimming) was found dead at home in Iten.
via Associated Press

According to the Directorate for Criminal Investigations, Rotich would face murder charges after being interrogated at a station.

Rotich and Tirop had been married in traditional Kenyan ceremonies, but they were separated at her murder. The families of the victims had encouraged them to come to an agreement and they met up this week, it is believed.

Tirop, who was 19 years old when she won the 2015 World Cross-Country title, is a rising star from Kenya. She is the second youngest ever winner of that event. Additionally, she won bronze medals in both the 10,000-meter and 5,000-meter races at the 2019 and 2017 world championships. She was fourth at Tokyo Olympics. She broke last month’s world record in the 10-kilometer women-only road race.

Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s President, was among those who were outraged at the killing. Kenyatta, who is on an official visit to the United States, said Tirop was a “Kenyan hero” and ordered police to find her killer. To show respect for Tirop’s life, Kenyan Track Federation suspended all of its events from the country for two week.


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