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Kenyan Prosecutors Charge Suspected Lover of LGBTQ Activist with Murder

FILE - Kenyan LGBT activist Edwin Chiloba poses for a selfie in Kakamega, Kenya, May 9, 2019 in this picture obtained from social media.

Kenyan state prosecutors are charging a suspected lover of LGBTQ activist Edwin Kipruto, known as Edwin Chiloba, with his murder.

Chiloba's body was found in a metal box on the side of the road earlier in January, sparking fears of a hate crime. However, Kenya's state counsel, Anthony Fedha, told a court Tuesday that investigators have gathered evidence linking Chiloba's lover, Jackton Odhiambo, to the death.

Odhiambo, a freelance photographer, appeared in Eldoret town Tuesday to face murder charges. He has not yet entered a plea.

Odhiambo appeared alongside other suspects who were freed after prosecutors established that they were not associated with the killing.

''For the second to fifth respondents, we have no evidence to continue having them in custody; they can be released, save for the second, third and fourth respondent we still require them to report at the DCI Eldoret once a month for three months to record further statements,'' Fedha said.

The DCI is the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

Many members of Kenya's LGBTQ feared Chiloba was targeted for his sexuality and activism.

However, according to the Associated Press, investigators have determined the murder was not a hate crime. AP reports that investigators believe the murder was linked to a love triangle.

Kenya's chief government pathologist, Johansen Oduor, said Chiloba, a 25-year-old model and fashion designer, had been smothered to death. The murder attracted global attention.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price urged Kenyan authorities to thoroughly investigate the case.