We were conned, robbed clean on the trail of Philip Onyancha - Janet Mbugua

Janet and Onyancha [Photo: Courtesy]

Media personality Janet Mbugua recently opened up on a horrifying experience she and her cameraman went through a few years back while tracking down self-confessed serial killer, Philip Ondari Onyancha.

Narrating the ordeal during Janjaruka’s lockdown challenge, Mbugua who at the time was working for a South African media house revealed how she was duped by a man claiming his son fell victim to Onyancha.

"It was in 2010, there was a trending story on Onyancha, who was allegedly a serial killer; carrying out some gruesome murders in Nairobi," she narrated.

"We finally identified a man who said his son was allegedly a victim and we decided and agreed to go but asked to be provided with extra security as we had very expensive equipment with us. All I remember is we went deep into the hearts of Lenana to capture his story."

Disaster strikes

The man masquerading as one of the victim’s father marshalled a group of young men to escort Mbugua and her team to his house where the interview was to be conducted.

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On arrival, he ushered Mbugua into the house and served a cup of tea. The cameraman and the driver were left with the ‘security detail’.

"It was almost 5pm. The distance where I was going to record was short. I went to the house and got to know the family as I wait for the videographer to come so he films us. It took long, 10, 20 minutes and I was like, it's taking long, why hasn't he come back?

“It is almost 6pm, so I told them, we need to go check what was happening. The man who had led us to the house says let me go check to make sure they are okay. He left the house and 10 minutes later, he ran into the house, saying, 'Wameibiwa! Gari imeenda’," she added.

All their equipment, including their previously shot footage plus her bag and passport that she had left in the car, were nowhere to be seen.

She admitted to being so overwhelmed to the point of breaking down.

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With the help of a police officer, however, Mbugua and her team were not long after reunited at the hotel they were staying in on and discovered the cameraman was robbed of his shoes as well. 

"Everything we had filmed in Mombasa was gone with the equipment, worth half a million. We just cried and we could not continue with our work, but we were alive," she said.