Kenyan police have launched a manhunt for the boyfriend of female long-distance runner Damaris Muthee Mutua, who was found dead with stab wounds in the town of Iten, Kenya.
Local police chief Tom Makori told the AFP news agency that Mutua’s body was discovered in “a state of decomposition” in the Rift Valey town of Iten.
Mutua’s boyfriend was training at the same high-altitude centre as her and may have fled the country, according to police.
Speaking to Reuters, Makori said: “The suspect called a friend [with] whom they were training together and informed him that he has killed a girlfriend and the body was in the house.”
Mutua was born in Kenya and competed for them as a junior athlete but later switched to run for Bahrain.
She won a bronze medal in the 1000m at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010.
Mutua is the second female athlete to be killed in Iten in the last year, after Olympic runner Agnes Tirop was also found dead in October 2021.
Tirop was found stabbed to death at her home and police arrested her husband Ibrahim Rotich in connection with her alleged murder.
Rotich remains in custody and denies killing Tirop.
🚨 Sad news— Geoffrey Mwamburi (@bekimwamburi) April 19, 2022
Kenyan-born Bahrain 🇧🇭 Athlete Damaris mutua Muthee found dead in Iten Kenya. It is allegedly she was killed by her Ethiopian boyfriend. pic.twitter.com/NxksPNbRQx
Tirop was also a long-distance runner and at the time of her death was the world-record holder in the 10 kilometres women’s only event.
She was also the junior champion at the African Cross Country Championships in 2014 and was a medallist at the World Junior Championships in Athletics.
Her finest achievements came at the 2017 and 2019 World Athletics Championships, where she claimed back-to-back bronze medals in the 10,000m.
Iten famous for producing long-distance runners
Iten has gained international recognition as the world’s “foremost manufacturer” of elite long-distance running talent.
The majority of Kenyan marathon winners in recent years have trained in Iten or the vicinity.
Indeed, within the town of some 4,000 people, around a quarter are athletes and this number is only increasing.