Kenyan Olympic runner and two-time world championship bronze medalist Agnes Tirop was found dead at her home on Wednesday with stab wounds and her husband was missing and wanted for questioning, police said.
Elgeyo Marakwet County Police Chief Tom Makori said they were looking for Tirop’s husband after his family reported he called them crying and asking for God’s forgiveness for something that ‘He did.
“There are revelations that have come from her husband’s family,” Makori said.
Tirop, 25, was found dead at her home in Iten, western Kenya, a town known to be a training base for long-distance runners. Kenyan media reported that she was found with stab wounds to the abdomen and neck.
Tirop’s car, which was parked outside the house, saw its windshield and windows smashed, which could indicate a marital dispute before she was killed, police said.
Kenya National Police said Tirop was the victim of a “heinous crime” and promised “prompt and thorough investigations”.
The Kenyan Athletics Federation had said earlier that Tirop, one of her country’s rising stars, was stabbed by her husband, but she was still struggling to find out the details of the incident.
“Kenya has lost a gem,” Athletics Kenya said.
Tirop won bronze in the women’s 10,000-meter at the 2017 and 2019 world championships and finished fourth in the 5,000-meter at the Tokyo Olympics. Last month Tirop broke the world record for the women’s 10 kilometer road race in Germany.
Her career took off when she won the world cross country title in 2015 at the age of 19 to become the second youngest female champion in the history of the event.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta urged the police “to track down and apprehend the criminals responsible for Agnes’ murder”.
“It is disturbing, quite unhappy and very sad that we have lost a promising young athlete,” Kenyatta said in a statement. “It is even more painful that Agnes, a Kenyan heroine in all respects, painfully lost her young life to a criminal act perpetrated by selfish and cowardly people.”
International athletics governing body World Athletics said it was “deeply shocked and saddened” by Tirop’s death.