Kenyan killed in US while preparing to return home
Eric Kiptui was brutally murdered in his apartment in Atlanta Georgia, US. The reality is yet to sink in for Kiptui’s 65-year-old mother that she is not going to see her son alive again. While holding a picture she took with Kiptui when she visited him in the US in 2006, Sote Chepkuto says she still can’t believe her son is dead. Since she received information that her son had been killed, the news has kept torturing her.
“No, I can’t believe my son is dead. No, no,” she said as she almost turns hysterical. It took some few minutes of comfort from Baringo Women Representative Grace Kiptui who had visited the family home at Rafiki in Kabarak to bring her back to the conversation. “Look at his house,” she said pointing at the three bedroomed house a few metres from the family house.
Relocate in April “He had just completed so that when he relocates in April, he would live there,” said Sote. Kiptui was found murdered in his house on Sunday, December 29, by unknown people.
The family spokesperson Ambassador Michael Sergon said they received a call from a Kenyan in the US who broke the sad news. According to a post by Gotaabgaa Atlanta, an organisation that brings together Kenyans of Kalenjin community in the US, they were shocked to be informed of Kiptui’s death in his apartment in Sandy Springs, Georgia on December 29.
The post says the circumstances surrounding his death left the Kenyan community and friends of the deceased astonished. “The circumstances surrounding his death left us completely astonished. We could not believe that he was gone. We are still extremely shocked and looking for answers,” read the post.
It says the detectives found Kiptui’s body with bullet wounds in his house and there were no indications that the killers forced their way into the apartment. “Detectives are still doing their job but what is clear is that there was no forced entry into Kiptui’s apartment by those who killed him,” reads the post.
The posts adds that during Kiptui’s stay in the US, he worked extremely hard and he would always carry himself with dignity and made friends with everyone, a trait that won him admiration and trust of one elderly White family. “He was gentle and kind to everyone. At his workplace, he made friends with everyone.
In fact, he found an elderly White family close to his workplace that he quickly made friendship with. He would go to their house and help them work on the farm, including planting vegetables.” The group says the White family, having lost their son, treated Kiptui as one of their own and in 2006, the couple, as an appreciation of the deceased’s assistance asked him what they could do for him as present.
“Eric requested them to help invite his mother to the US and the family made arrangements and catered for everything,” read the communication from the group. And it is this trip which the deceased’s mother recalled when The Standard visited her at her home in Rafiki, Kabarak. “My son invited me to the US in 2006 and stayed for over six months. This was the last time I met my son and we were planning for a big re-union this April when he could have come home to settle down,” said the distraught mother, while showing pictures she took with the son during the visit.
“He has always been a humble son every mother would be proud of and heart-broken when told he is no more. He has always assisted us and even paid school fees for three of his siblings. To be told he was killed, you just do not understand why someone should kill such a good boy,” said the mother. According to Kiptui’s father Chepkuto Cherono, his son left the country in 1998 for studies. After completion, he decided to look for a job to assist his family.
“For the last 15 years, we have seen him work hard to make life better for himself and for us all as a family. It is quite unfortunate that when things were looking better for him, death came knocking,” said Cherono, 75. “This farm we are living on, he bought for us and relocated us from Kerio Valley. We were just starting to prepare for his homecoming when the news reached us that he was killed,” said Cherono.
And in a twist of events, instead of the family organising a grand welcome for their son, they are now making arrangements for his funeral. Their son’s body is currently at West Cobb Funeral home awaiting transportation back home after the family raises enough money to allow the airlifting of the body. “Already meetings to organise for fundraising are ongoing. We are appealing to well-wishers and the Government to chip in to allow the family receive the body and bring this tragedy to a closure, especially for the parents,” said Baringo County Women Rep.