An American man accused of stealing from a Kenyan woman who has been missing for the last three months has pleaded not guilty to four charges in connection with her disappearance.
Nathan Hightman is accused of fraudulently transferring Sh300,000 from Irene Wairimu Gakwa’s bank account to his own.
The 38-year-old suspect is also said to have bought boots and a shovel with Ms Gakwa’s credit cards.
He also changed her banking password and erased his email account.
The suspect’s attorney, Steven Titus, stated that his client had entered a not guilty plea.
“Mr Hightman pleaded not guilty to all four charges on Tuesday afternoon,” Mr Titus told international media.
Ms Gakwa’s brother reported her missing on February 24 with Gillette Police Department maintaining that they still have no information on the missing person.
Ms Gakwa is said to have arrived home from a restaurant and informed the suspect that she was leaving Gillette, he told the officers at the station.
According to court documents, she also packed her belongings into two bags and fled in the company of a dark SUV driver.
The suspect, on the other hand, admitted that he had accessed Ms Gakwa’s bank accounts and withdrawn funds in order to make her reach out.
Mr Hightman has been identified as a person of interest in her disappearance by police, but he has flatly refused to cooperate with them.
According to family, Ms Gakwa moved to the United States to complete her studies and was studying nursing when she met Mr Hightman on an online dating service about five years ago.
Mr Hightman allegedly pushed her to lie to her family about her location because she had claimed to be in Arizona until it was discovered that she was actually in Wyoming.
Between February 24 and March 20, police released a statement asking citizens for help in locating a grey or silver Subaru Crosstrek with Idaho license plates that may have been trespassing on private property or in rural areas of Campbell County.