Philemon Kipchumba travelled dozens of kilometers from his home in Elgeyo Marakwet to Seruiyot village in Uasin Gishu County to talk to his ex-girlfriend, Hilda Chemeli.
He hoped to reconcile with her, though Hilda had moved on and had an 18-month-old baby with another man.
But after a week of camping in the area and being rejected by Hilda and her mother, Kipchumba is being accused of killing the woman and her child and attempting suicide.
Kipchumba, 27, is now in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Iten County Hospital after attempting suicide following the murder of his ex-girlfriend and her 18-month baby.
Police believe that Kipchumba tricked Hilda into meeting him near a river before he strangled her and her child to death, the thought of not being with the 20-year-old Form Three student having been too much for him.
Uasin County Deputy Police Commander Zacchaeus Ng’eno said the suspect had been in love with the woman for some years and according to her relatives, the two had been quarreling.
“There was suspicion that he killed her. When the body was removed to the mortuary, the suspect could not be found. He was later arrested in Elgeyo Marakwet County, where he attempted to commit suicide by taking unknown pesticides,” said Mr. Ng’eno.
According to villagers, the suspect had moved to the woman’s village trying to reconcile with her after their love went sour.
“The woman was a Form Three student and they used to be lovers,” said a villager.
Edwin Kemboi, the area assistant chief, told journalists that Kipchumba had long attempted to woo back Hilda.
“The child is not his (Kipchumba’s). The suspect is an ex-boyfriend who met with the deceased at Biwott Secondary School, where she was studying. Now he has followed her here to Seruiyot. The father of the child is a student at Ngeria Secondary School, and this might be a case of jealousy and revenge,” Mr. Kemboi said.
Mr Kemboi described the murder scene as bizarre.
After the murder, the suspect placed his former lover on the grass near the riverbank, and the child was put in water with a stone placed on top, keeping the corpse in place until residents found it.
It is also alleged that the suspect left marks to lead residents and police to the scene of the crime, including torn clothes.
Residents said the murder happened days after Hilda’s mother had confronted Kipchumba over his advances on her daughter.
“I had followed her and saw her with this boy. I warned him that I would beat him up if I ever saw him near my daughter again. But people at the shopping centre pleaded his case, that I let him go. He claimed the kid was his, but I told him it was not, and that he should leave,” Hilda’s mother told journalists after the bodies were found on Sunday.
The bodies were moved to the MTRH mortuary.
Police said they are waiting for him to recover before bringing murder charges against him.