Police investigating gruesome death of Congolese refugee found naked in parking lot

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In the midst of civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Byiringiro Mupenzi fled to the U.S., establishing a new life in Houston.

But four years after escaping his native land, friends and family are trying to make sense of how he ended up dead early Monday morning, lying naked with lacerations in the parking lot of his southwest apartment complex, according to Houston Police.

“We don’t know anything,” said his older brother Nganizi Kayishema, 36, through a translator. “We are waiting to see what’s going to come from the police investigation.”

The family is also waiting to see their beloved relative’s body. The 25-year-old was last seen by his best friend around 4 p.m. on Sunday when they went shopping together, his brother said. The dead man’s best friend headed to a graduation party afterwards and Mupenzi went to visit an unidentified person, the brother recalled outside a small family gathering on Tuesday at the apartment complex.

Mupenzi was supposed to meet his friend back at the party, but he never showed up. Instead, the next time the family heard about Mupenzi was when police officers knocked on their apartment door in the early morning hours of Memorial Day. He shared the home with his mother, sister and his sister’s son.

A tenant at the southwest Houston apartment complex in the 6200 block of Marinette had called 911 around 1:50 a.m. after seeing a naked man in the parking lot who looked deceased, according to police.

When HFD paramedics arrived, they pronounced Mupenzi dead at the scene.

Police said that Mupenzi suffered from severe lacerations, and Kayishema said he’s heard reports that his brother was apparently decapitated.

When he learned about the violent death, Mupenzi’s brother was in San Antonio over the weekend for a wedding. He rushed back to Houston.

On Tuesday, he gathered with other friends and family as they shared food and drinks just one day later to mourn the loss of their loved one.

He describes his younger brother as a simple man who took care of his family and also wanted to pursue his education. He worked for Goodman Manufacturing Company but wanted to go back to school for construction or engineering.

Houston police are still investigating the death, but so far have no suspects or witnesses to the crime.

The mother, who Mupenzi looked after, has been sleeping mostly since she heard the news, her son said. He described her as emotionally exhausted.

His brother has no idea who would act so brutally, but because of his Christian faith he said he has no hate for the person.

“I know crime can happen,” Kayishema said. “There’s nothing we can do.”


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