Agnes Tirop, an Olympic runner from Kenya, was found stabbed to death in her home on Wednesday, October 13. Tirop, who lived in Iten, Kenya, was a two-time bronze medalist and recently broke a long-standing record in the 10km Adizero Road To Records event in Germany.
Tirop’s impressive showing set a new record that was a full 28 seconds faster than the previous Adizero time. Her most recent Olympic outing, during the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, saw her finish in fourth place in the 5,000-meter event.
Tirop’s husband, Ibrahim Kipkemoi Rotich, has been arrested in connection to the crime. He reportedly fled from police before being apprehended on Thursday, October 14.
“The prime suspect in the gruesome murder of 25-year-old world 5,000m record holder Agnes Tirop, has been arrested,” tweeted the Directorate of Criminal Investigations-Kenya. “Ibrahim Rotich, who was in a relationship with the athlete, was arrested moments ago in Changamwe, Mombasa county, as he tried to flee to a neighboring country to evade justice.”
Investigators believe that Rotich and Tirop may have gotten into an argument before her death. Rotich became a person of interest in the case immediately following a tearful, hysterical phone call to his family. During the call, Rotich was reported to be crying and panicked, begging his family and God for forgiveness.
Rotich isn’t the only suspect in the investigation. Kenyan authorities have also arrested Silas Chilla Chellile under the suspicion that he might have played a role in Tirop’s death. According to reports from police, both men are now fully cooperating with the investigation.
Rotich is now awaiting a transfer to Iten, where authorities expect he’ll face criminal charges. Police described the manhunt for Rotich, including the dramatic way in which the authorities apprehended him. “Earlier in the day at around noon, Rotich had rammed his getaway vehicle into a lorry at Athi River, along Mombasa road, as he desperately escaped our dragnet,” tweeted the Directorate of Criminal Investigations-Kenya.
On Wednesday, Athletics Kenya issued an official statement in response to Tirop’s death. “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.”
Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, issued a statement strongly denouncing the act of senseless violence. Kenyatta referred to those responsible for Tirop’s deaths as “cowards,” and referred to Tirop as a “Kenya hero by all measures.”