Rita Waeni & Starlet Wahu: Expert Explains Killers’ Choice for Short-Stay Accommodations for Murders

The murder of 20-year-old university student Rita Waeni and social media influencer Starlet Wahu in Nairobi’s short-stay rental units has raised concern among Kenyans over the regulation of the accommodation units.

Among the questions that are still puzzling Kenyans is why the suspects in the murders which occurred two weeks apart chose to prefer the lodgings. 

Kenyans.co.ke contacted Jacob Elkana, a Nairobi-based criminologist and communication expert to understand the minds of the killers. 

According the Elkana, the choice of the two locations may have been motivated by five factors as detailed below. 

A collage of the main suspect in the murder of Rita Waeni (left) and the deceased Rita Waeni (right)



The expert detailed that these units are more private than hotels because clients are given ample time to enjoy their stay without disruption after receiving the keys.

Unlike hotels offering room service, tenants barely interact with the owners or cleaners during their stay.

Not Known by Neighbours

On most occasions, the neighbours living in the apartment barely know each other. This is because, these units are rented by different people within a week and a month, making it a possible location for killers who want to escape detection.

“No one knows that someone is inside or something is happening that is why they are choosing the units to commit atrocities,” the expert stated.


On the other hand, one can access these houses easily because bookings can either be done online or through phone calls. As in the case of Waeni, the suspect communicated with the house owner via phone.

He was only directed to the office where he could pick up the keys after making payment.


“Most of these locations do not have CCTVs. They are not well monitored. The owners are also not there,” he stated.

Given that many apartments lack CCTV footage, it could be easy for someone to commit a crime and go undetected. Notably, suspects in the two incidents were only captured by CCTV installed in the corridors or outside buildings.

It would therefore be difficult for someone to know what happened in the houses.

A collage of the late Starlet Wahu (left) and her with a date on Wednesday, January 3, 2024 (right)


Starlet Wahu

Secretive and Quiet

Elkana noted that killers could prefer such accommodation because they are usually quiet and thus easy to escape without detection.

Notably, many people were puzzled by how the suspect in the murder of Waeni was able to kill her and dismember her body without attracting attention.

On the other hand, Kenyans are still wondering how neighbours did not rescue Starlet Wahu despite the scene of the crime indicating that she died while fighting for her life. 

Could these killings be a trend?

“It is not a trend, it is just an incident that does occur like road accidents. It is normal. What we are calling upon is for people to be vigilant especially those who are dating. Those who are getting new lovers online also need to be more vigilant, especially in the areas they are meeting,” the expert responded.

Can government regulations prevent such incidents from happening?

“Incidents are incidents. It is up to us Kenyans to be more vigilant and not to give in easily to anything. First, you must monitor, choose wisely and know yourself,” he added.

Serial Killer Twist

Various theories surfaced regarding the two murders among them the emergence of ritualists, serial sexual offenders and murderers. 

Following the murder of Wahu, police arrested reggae artist John Matara who is still being held over the incident. Notably, more women came out to narrate their experiences with him, accusing him of attempting to end their lives. 

A Nigerian national, on the other hand, was arrested in connection with the murder of Waeni which was linked to ritualism. Police have yet to confirm the allegations. 

Notably, in both incidents, the suspects demanded a Ksh500,000 ransom.

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