Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GU Senior Reported Missing

A Georgetown senior was reported missing to the Metropolitan Police Department on Aug. 19 when her housemates realized that they had not seen her for two to three weeks.

Nyambura Thiong’o (SFS ’09), along with three friends, was subletting a house in Burleith from eight students who lived there during the academic year. One of the eight students, Alysa Hannon (SFS ’09), continued to live there during the summer.

“I don’t know [Thiong’o] personally. I interacted with her occasionally and she was always nice, and even though my name was involved with the contract, I was never in much contact with her over the summer,” Hannon said.

Hannon began seeking Thiong’o when she was collecting rent, she said. Thiong’o owed $1,200, according to the MPD report.

“I had been asked to get rent from her, so I put a note on her door on July 30 politely asking her to pay,” she said. “It wasn’t weird that I might not see her in the course of a week.”

Thiong’o did not have a working cell phone and rarely checks her e-mail, according to Obehi Utubor (SFS ’09), one of Thiong’o’s friends.

Hannon, who left D.C. after writing the note, said when she returned on Aug. 2, she still had not heard from Thiong’o. On Aug. 19, one of the housemates, Nicole Stringfellow (COL ’11), who came back on Aug. 18 after also leaving D.C. on July 30, told Hannon that Thiong’o had not come back the night before and that she felt something was wrong.

On Aug. 19, Michael Ruthenberg-Marshall (SFS ’09), who was subletting the house to Thiong’o, decided to wait in her room that day for her to return. Ruthenberg-Marshall, Hannon and the three other housemates spoke with one another, and it was then that they came to the conclusion that neither of them had seen Thiong’o since July 30.

Hannon and the others immediately filed a report with MPD, which visited the residence that day. Department of Public Safety Sgt. Winfred Walton later visited the scene.

After the report was filed, Utubor told THE HOYA that she saw Thiong’o on Aug. 6.

“I saw her in early August, during finals week for the second [summer] session,” Utubor said. “She had been pretty missing in action all summer, and [then] I ran into her on the third floor [of the library], and I told her that she needed to get a phone so I could call her. She said she was going to come back, but she left the library and never came back.”

The MPD report was filed as a non-critical missing person report. “The police are being extremely passive,” Hannon said. “I know for sure that the only thing that wasn’t with her belongings was her wallet.”

The report attributes the disappearance to Thiong’o “ow[ing] rent money.”

“We do not have anything that would indicate any foul play, but we are still currently investigating and working with the MPD on the case,” DPS Director Jeffrey Van Slyke said.

Van Slyke went on to say that no new information had appeared within the last 10 days.

“The most recent information we have is that 10 days ago, Thiong’o’s brother came and picked up her belongings,” he said.

Thiong’o’s brother, Njaraje Thiong’o, was unavailable for comment.

Hannon said he did not return her calls, and according to the MPD report, MPD has not been able to contact any of her family members.

“We contacted her brother – I called him many times – but I still have not spoken with him,” Hannon said.

Georgetown University spokesperson Julie Bataille said that the university was in contact with the family and working with MPD.

“[Thiong’o] was last enrolled at Georgetown in fall 2007. In early August, Georgetown officials were notified that she was reported missing to the MPD,” Bataille said in an e-mail. “Since then, Georgetown officials have followed up on the matter, been in contact with her family and continue to cooperate fully with MPD’s ongoing investigation.”

Correction: This article incorrectly states that Thiong’o was enrolled in summer school and that Utubor was one of Thiong’o’s housemates.

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