'Prime Suspect' in Olympian's Murder Arrested

Emmanuel Rotich, husband of runner Agnes Tirop, was detained in Mombasa, Kenya
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2021 2:37 PM CDT
Updated Oct 15, 2021 7:55 AM CDT
Runner Who Finished 4th in Tokyo Is Murdered
In this Monday, Aug. 2, 2021 file photo, Kenya's Hellen Obiri, center, and Agnes Tirop, right, compete in the women's 5,000-meters final at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File)

Update: The husband of a Kenyan long-distance runner who competed in the Tokyo Olympics and was found murdered this week has been arrested. The BBC reports that Emmanuel Rotich was detained in Mombasa on Thursday, a day after 25-year-old Agnes Tirop was found dead in her bed, as he was trying to flee "to a neighboring country to evade justice," police say. They added that while trying to elude authorities earlier Thursday, Rotich rammed his getaway car into a truck. Rotich, considered the prime suspect in Tirop's murder, is now being questioned. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has requested Tirop's killing be swiftly investigated, per the Guardian. Our original story from Wednesday follows:

Just two months ago, Kenyan runner Agnes Tirop took fourth place in the Olympic 5000m, missing out on a medal by just 0.75 seconds. Now, the runner is dead and her husband, whose whereabouts are unknown, is regarded a suspect. The BBC reports Tirop was reported missing by her father Tuesday night and was found dead in her bed Wednesday, with a pool of blood on the floor. The head of police for the area said, "They saw she had been stabbed in the neck, which led us to believe it was a knife wound, and we believe that is what caused her death."

He added, "preliminary investigations tell us her husband is a suspect because he cannot be found. Police are trying to find her husband so he can explain what happened to Tirop," reports the Guardian. "Kenya has lost a jewel who was one of the fastest-rising athletics giants on the international stage, thanks to her eye-catching performances on the track," said the country's athletics body in a statement. She was 10 days away from her 26th birthday. Tirop ran a 10km road race in a world-record time of 30:01 last month. Sports Illustrated reports her final race was Oct. 3 in Switzerland, another 10km that she ran in 30:20. (More Olympic athletes stories.)

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