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After the shocking murder of socialite Starlet Wahu, more women came forward to report that the suspect, John Matara, had approached them too, subjected them to heinous, bloody activities and almost killed them too.

A surreptitious operator, Matara is said to have used dating app TAGGED to approach his victims - first, by making a sweet proposal laden with monetary rewards before the date turned devilishly awry.

According to one witness, who has already recorded a statement at the Kahawa Sukari police station, on May 17, 2023, Matara lured her through the TAGGED dating app. After they exchanged a few online pleasantries, she then invited him over to her house at Kahawa and the nightmare almost immediately began.
Matara is said to have fished out a knife after stripping her naked, committed several extreme sexual violations and then proceeded to order her to deposit huge amounts of money into his phone.

“Inserted his hands into the private parts of the lady Victim and sodomized her later before transferring a large amount of money to his phone,” read the police report.

The case, reported as robbery with violence and sexual assault, is still under probe.

In another reported incident, a woman identified as XY a resident of Umoja 3, reported to the police on January 7, 2024, that she was also a victim of Matara’s felonies.

Through the same dating app TAGGED, XY is said to have been promised Ksh.25,000 by Matara if she was willing to have sex with him.

After agreeing to a hookup, she was directed to pick a taxi and head to their meet-up place, a lodging room, in Thika.

Police say that XY was stripped naked upon entry into the room and was forced to reveal her M-Pesa pin lest Matara would stab her.

Unlike Wahu, these particular victims, whose names have been withheld, managed to escape with their lives.

A screenshot which was trending on X (formerly Twitter) for the better part of Monday, and which has not been independently verified by Citizen Digital, shows a conversation between a woman and a man suspected to be John Matara.

Whilst he is using the pseudonym ‘Alexxis S’ on the dating app, he appears to be using his actual photo on the profile picture.

Clever with his introductory words, Matara opens up the conversation dated December 7th 2023, by calling the woman ‘Pretty’ before proceeding to tell her that he has just landed in Kenya for the holiday season and was looking towards spending some time together with her before he left for Mombasa.

In fact, so tempting is his language that he throws in a little caveat - he promises the woman Ksh. 10,000 ‘as a token of his appreciation for a hookup’.

“Heey pretty, I really do love your beautiful and sexy self. What are you upto tomorrow? I just landed in Nairobi for the holiday season and I was wondering if you and I could spend some time together before I leave for Mombasa soon,” he starts off.

“I am offering 10k as a token for my appreciation for a hook up with you tomorrow in the course of this week. If interested please send me your WhatsApp number and location. Thanks…”.

Keen to net his next victim, Matara also casually tells the woman that she could just throw caution to the wind and accompany him to Mombasa because, ‘Christmas is here, baby!’

“And if you have time we could leave for mombasa together, diani per se, Christmas is here baby…” he teases.

After the woman asked him, “You had sent me another message previously right?” he immediately replies, “I think so baby. Your WhatsApp number please…”

Many people who went through the conversation were taken aback by one peculiar thing - the suspect’s cavalier use of sweet pet names to address a total stranger they just met online.

“I consider it a big red flag when a stranger calls me ‘baby’…” one X user said.

“You would have to be very foolish to allow a stranger dude who is hitting on you to call you ‘baby’ or ‘pretty’. Or even compliment you with words like, ‘your sexy body’. That’s an immediate ground for blocking the individual!” another agreed.

Tagged, John Matara’s preferred hookup channel, is a dating app that was founded by Black Americans and was primarily targeted at that same demographic - African Americans.

As its popularity grew, Tagged announced a new live-streaming feature called ‘Tagged Live’ which essentially gave users the ability to broadcast and view live-streamed video and earn and send virtual gifts.

The feature, which offered a digital twist on a traditional “blind date,” gave the streaming host the ability to hear the contestant, not see them, and as the timed virtual date progressed, the contestant’s video becomes less blurred.

The contestant is only revealed when the round approaches the end, or after the host chooses to “date” them.

After originally starting off as a Facebook knockoff, initially targeting high school kids, Tagged would soon be so completely obliterated by Facebook that they moved towards dating services - this, after they conducted a survey meant to keep them afloat.

“Facebook beat us. We were just another social network…but not in the top five,” Tagged CEO Greg Tseng then-said to US media.

“On Tagged, people were using filtered search to meet people. For sharing activities, dating, or whatever,” he added. “We focused on being the best place to meet new people for any social reason."

After more than 15 years, the dating site still exists but is not quite as huge as other dating apps like Tinder, Bumble or Hinge.

While Matara’s particular preference for Tagged is unknown, he might probably have preferred the app over the more popular ones as it may have been easier to get away, tamper with the community guidelines and meet people who were probably more naive and easily gullible.

Like all dating sites, Tagged has had its fair share of horrific stories of potential dates encountering hazardous situations after a hookup turned nasty.

In July 2023, a New Zealand man was lured to a West Auckland house with a promise of a date but ended up nursing serious injuries after he was attacked by teens armed with bats and left covered in blood, begging for help in the street overnight.

The horror unfolded when the hopeful suitor met a young woman on Tagged.

The girl went ahead to invite him to her home only to be locked inside a room and subject to a 30-minute long bashing and stripped of his valuables.

A man close to the victim says the violent assault came to an end when the man gave up the passcode to his cellphone.

“As soon as he entered, basically he was jumped by three guys with bats. They had cranked up the music to the max so nobody would be able to hear his screams," the victim’s brother told police.

“They locked him in for half an hour, threatened to kill him, made him hand over his car keys, online banking details, cellphone and wallet.”

In the US, a 24-year-old woman named Briona Eaddy was arrested after she attempted to carjack a 35-year-old man she met on Tagged.

After the two met up, Eaddy entered her suitor’s car and, not too long after, two men appeared from the shadows, brandished a gun and asked Eaddy’s date to get out and surrender his car keys. It was all a setup.

As Starlet Wahu’s death continues to be investigated, the dangers of dating apps have once again been spotlighted even as more and more young women come forward to confess of their past interactions with John Matara and the bloody circumstances that followed shortly after their hookups.

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