Update (Oct. 18, 2021): Ibrahim Rotich, the husband of Olympic runner Agnes Tirop, has been charged with murder in the death of his wife. Kenyan police arrested the suspect on Thursday in the coastal city of Mombasa and accused him of trying to flee the country, Reuters reports.
According to CBS News, Rotich led police on a high-speed chase for miles, but he was arrested after ramming his vehicle into a truck. Officers also arrested another man who was found with Tirop’s cell phone while traveling with the suspect, according to The Associated Press.
"The suspect has been arrested today evening and is in custody at Changamwe police station in Coast Region," Tom Makori, a police commander, told Reuters.
Police said the court has allowed them to hold Rotich for 20 days, giving detectives time to complete investigations and determine if he is mentally competent to stand trial.Investigators suspect there was a domestic altercation before Tirop was stabbed to death in her home last week. Police launched a nationwide manhunt after Rotich’s family said he called them on Wednesday, crying and asking for God's forgiveness for something he had done.
"It is even more painful that Agnes, a Kenyan hero by all measures, painfully lost her young life through a criminal act perpetrated by selfish and cowardly people," Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach expressed his condolences on Twitter, describing the 25-year-old as a “young and bright talent.”
"I’m deeply shocked by the tragic death of Agnes Tirop,” Bach said. “Her performances at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 gave hope and inspiration to so many people."
Original (Oct. 14, 2021): Kenyan Olympic runner Agnes Tirop was found stabbed to death in her home in Iten, BBC reports. Local police are now on the hunt for her husband, who they say has gone missing.
HEARTBREAKING! 💔💔— Usher Komugisha (@UsherKomugisha) October 13, 2021
Kenyan athlete Agnes Jebet Tirop, who represented Kenya 🇰🇪 at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the 5000m, has been found dead in her house with stab wounds to her abdomen.
She was just 10 days away from her 26th birthday. Rest in peace Queen! pic.twitter.com/dbqACcTUG6
Tirop's father first reported her missing on Tuesday night. When police discovered her body, she was found with stab wounds to the neck and the abdomen.
"When [police] got in the house, they found Tirop on the bed and there was a pool of blood on the floor," Tom Makori, Iten's head of police, said. "Her husband is still at large, and preliminary investigations tell us her husband is a suspect because he cannot be found. Police are trying to find her husband so he can explain what happened to Tirop."
According to CNN, Tirop participated in the Tokyo Olympics, finishing fourth in the 5,000-meter race. The event served as her first showing at the Olympic games. She also took home bronze medals in the 10,000-meter category at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships. Tirop set a new world record last month, running a 30.01 in the women 10-kilometer race at the Adizero Road To Records event in Germany. The previous record was 30.29.
At the age of 19, she became the second-youngest runner to win a gold medal in the women's race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
Athletics Kenya released a statement confirming the sad news.
"Athletics Kenya are distraught to learn about the untimely death of World 10,000m bronze medallist Agnes Tirop," the statement read."We are still working to unearth more details surrounding her demise. 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 also reflected on the loss, calling the news "unsettling, utterly unfortunate and very sad."
"It is unsettling, utterly unfortunate and very sad that we've lost a young and promising athlete who, at a young age of 25 years, she had brought our country so much glory through her exploits on the global athletics stage, including in this year's 2020 Tokyo Olympics where she was part of the Kenyan team in Japan," he said, per CNN.