The drama surrounding the disappearance of a Thika millionaire has taken a new turn after he resurfaced on Sunday morning, not dead, but alive, police say.
Julius Gitau, alias Gitau wa Mali, a well-known wholesale trader in Thika town, went missing on September 21 after he asked his driver to pick his vehicle near Blue Post Hotel in Thika.
What appeared to be a suicide note was later retrieved from the dashboard of the vehicle and the trader has not been seen since then.
But Sunday, at 9.44am, Gatanga Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss John Kanda called the Nation with the news that Mr Gitau has resurfaced.
“We have spoken to him. He is alive. I always told you we were on top of this search and our leads were that it was immature to conclude he was dead. He is now heading to our offices for processing,” Mr Kanda said.
The trader has resurfaced three days after his ailing mother, Rosemary Wanjiru, 69, threatened to camp outside State House, Nairobi until police tell her the whereabouts of her son.
“I want to pack my bedding and move to State House gates to wait for the president and plead with him to issue an order to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to get me my son,” she had told Nation at her Kaharate home in Murang’a County.
She said DCI was killing her with anxiety by not giving her a reason to keep hoping that her son is well.
“We are now past two months since my son was reported missing. The DCI is treating this case in a very casual manner and all I am being told through the press is that the case is still under investigation. I know if it was a big man’s son who had gone missing we would have known his whereabouts within hours… DCI here knows they are searching for a son of a poor aging and ailing single mother,” she said.
While Mr Gitau was reported to have authored a suicide note on September 21 saying he had run out of hope in life owing to financial pressures in his businesses and was jumping into an undisclosed river to die, Mr Kanda was to later dismiss the note as a forgery. He doubted the sincerity of Mr Gitau’s relatives regarding his disappearance since “they appeared normally jovial and unrattled”.
“In our investigations regarding the missing, the moment you hit the second week without finding a body of the victim, the game changes to that of investigating a possibility of finding him or her alive than dead. This because it is easier to find a body than a lost person,” said Mr Kanda.
Mr Gitau, a former hawker, is rated in Mt Kenya region as a self-made millionaire who had built his estate since 1992 when he moved to Thika town after completing primary school. As a hawker, he was earning Sh100 daily as profit.
Today, he is estimated to be worth Sh600 million, with Sh518 million in liabilities according to detectives.
When he landed into big capital and as money poured into his life, he married three wives — and after he was reported missing, three more emerged — bringing children associated with him to 11.
There were also contradictory statements surrounding his last moments in public.
While his first wife said he was last seen in Thika town and later set off to a gym, his workers insisted he never showed up in town that morning.
Owing to divisions among his polygamous family, his businesses have remained closed all through this search and a vicious war regarding the control of his eight vehicles and collection of rent from his commercial buildings ensued.