On May 29 this year, Lucy Wanjiku claims she received a text message from her husband saying they had gone to America together and they would leave together.
A few days later, they indeed came back to Kenya. But separately. Her husband (Edward Mundia) and daughter (Shirley Wambui) returned as corpses. During the long flight home, Wanjiku, reminiscing that day in September 2010 when they left Jomo KenyattaÂ InternationalÂ Airport, could not come to terms to what had befallen her.
When they arrived in America, the young couple was hosted by Wanjikuâ€™s brother, Dominic Mburu, in South Bend, Indiana. For about five months, they lived with the Dominics as they tried to getÂ employment.
â€œWithoutÂ jobsÂ it was hard for us to cope. He was still drinking and we started quarrelling. I left to live with my older brother, Anthony Mburu, also in South Bend. Eventually, Eddie (Mundia) also left and went to live with his family members in Texas,â€ narrated Wanjiku.
Not long after, Wanjiku got a good job. She rented anÂ apartmentÂ and sent her husband an olive branch. â€œWe lived in bliss for about five months as he looked for a job. In America, itâ€™s hard to live without aÂ car. So I bought him one.â€Â Then Mundia got a job. Wanjiku claims while they were in Kenya, Mundia never took responsibility.
The going got tough for the couple and they separated in June 2012. Mburu remembers American Independence Day, July 4, last year. Wanjiku was living with them and Mundia came with police officers demanding to check for his documents, which he believed his estranged wife had hidden.
Since the days they were preparing to move to America, the couple accused each other of â€˜hidingâ€™ documents.
In Mundiaâ€™s case, his family in Karibaribi, Thika, narrated of how Mundia missed a card he was to use for aÂ medicalÂ check-up.
After the separation, says Wanjiku, Mundia would stalk and accost her. He even would come to herÂ apartmentÂ and physically assault her. â€œUnlike in Kenya, domestic violence is taken seriously in America that a neighbour can call the police if they suspect anything.â€ This is what happened and in December, a neighbour called law enforcers when he heard commotion in Wanjikuâ€™s Irish HillsÂ Apartment.
(READ:Â Deputy prosecutor resigns after failing to prosecute kenyan man three days before he killed his 6-year-old daughter )
This led to the State of Indianaâ€™s St Joseph – Superior Court issuing an ex parte Order for Protection on December 3, last year. â€œHe was not to contact us, or come to ourÂ apartmentÂ or the places we frequent,â€ says Wanjiku.
But on Wednesday May 29, this year, the day Wanjiku claims to receive threatening messages from Mundia, she found him at herÂ apartment.Â â€œIt was about 9pm. I went to check whether I had left the door keys in the bedroom. I found Eddie hiding in the clothes closet with a bottle of beer, a Budweiser.â€
After the initial shock, she confronted him and he said he wanted to see his daughter. The protection order was expiring on June 2, and Wanjiku called the police.
â€œHe was arrested but on the following day, a Thursday, I received a call from a friend saying she had spotted Eddie near a liquor store,â€ said Wanjiku. The release would see a deputy county prosecutor later resign.
At a party
On Friday, May 31, Wanjiku says she found one of herÂ windows broken. In fear, she called 911.Â On Saturday, June 1, Wanjiku says she was at a party with brother Anthony and his friends. Anthony says his wife and Lucy left with the children at about 11pm.
Wanjiku got home at about midnight. At her door, somebody called them. It was Mundia. Shirley ran and hugged him. â€œThey were good friends,â€ she tells us at her fatherâ€™s home at Mwea Village in Thika, a few metres from where Shirleyâ€™s grave has been laying open, complete with a cross, for a week.Wanjiku asked him to leave, but he insisted he wanted to see his daughter. In the house, Wanjiku took Shirley to bed, where she says she took time to play before putting the six-year-old to bed.
Back in the living room, the estranged husband said he needed food. Wanjiku said she would pack some for him. He wanted to eat from there.Â â€œHe then started shivering. For a long time, I had heard he was not well. At one time he had collapsed at his workplace. I do not think he was drunk.â€
Mundia then asked her to not try call the police.Â â€œHe asked me whether I had read the text messages he had sent me. He repeated one of the messages that stated we had come three of us to the States and that we would go back together, dead.â€
At some point, she says she left for the bedroom and on coming back it happened in a twinkling of an eye.Â â€œI do not know what happened but suddenly he was confronting me, holding two knives. I could tell they were some of my kitchen knives but how he got hold of them, I do not know,â€ recalled Wanjiku.
A struggle ensued and Wanjiku sustained several â€œsubstantial knife wounds to her hands, cheek and chest,â€ according to a press release from St Josephâ€™s County Prosecutorâ€™s Office.
She has healing scars in her hands, and one on the cheek, which she says was inflicted by Mundia as he bit her. She managed to run away and went to theÂ carpark. A neighbour attracted by the commotion rushed to the scene and called the police.
The local media interviewed the neighbour but he declined to give his identity. He told the Wsbtcom, a local news channel, â€œBasically when I opened the door, I heard a lot of screaming, â€˜Heâ€™s gonna kill my baby! Heâ€™s gonna kill my baby!â€™ When I opened the door, she had blood all over her hands and her right hand was basically cut open,â€ said the neighbour.
â€œWhen they opened the shades, the little girl was sitting there…she was just sitting there crying, yelling â€˜Daddy! Daddy!â€™ like she was scared or something, but not afraid of him. She was just scared of the whole situation,â€ he said. He adds that police soon arrived.
â€œThey told him to come to theÂ front door. He still wonâ€™t come. Next thing you know, theyâ€™re kicking open the door. All I heard was â€˜pop popâ€™. I see her come out, she had blood all over her and the knife was still stuck in her,â€ he said.