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Group to continue effort to locate Irene Gakwa with fourth search on Saturday

Irene Wairimu Gakwa, 32, went missing from the Gillette area in late February and is believed to have lived with a man up until her disappearance. (Gillette Police Department/City of Gillette)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — The drive to locate anything that could help locate a Gillette woman who has been missing for months continues with a fourth search effort scheduled to take place this weekend.

Residents will be gathering at the Foothills Theatre parking lot on Highway 14-16 on Saturday, Aug. 6, at 7:30 a.m., according to a post shared in a Facebook Group dedicated to finding 32-year-old Irene Gakwa, who went missing earlier this year.

The exact location for the day’s search efforts will not be revealed until meeting, the post says.

Previous search efforts have covered locations along the sides of Old Highway 59 and North Highway 59.

Irene has not been heard from since Feb. 24; the last person to see her was her fiancé, 38-year-old Nathan Hightman, who told police in March this year that Irene came home one night to grab some belongings and then left in a dark-colored SUV, according to statements from the Gillette Police Department.

She was reported missing by her family on March 20, per the GPD, which identified Hightman as a person of interest in Irene’s disappearance early on in the investigation.

Hightman has since pleaded not guilty to multiple felonies for allegedly using Irene’s banking and email information without permission, Campbell County court records say.

In the charging documents, Hightman was observed in surveillance videos using Irene’s credit cards to purchase a shovel, a pair of boots, and a pair of pants.

Hightman has not cooperated with the investigation and has refused to answer questions, per GPD.

An April statement from the GPD alerted the public that Irene was possibly taken to a rural area, mine site, or oil location between Feb. 24 and March 20.

Another release requested information concerning a silver or gray Subaru Crosstrek that may have appeared out of place in rural areas of Campbell County with police also asking about a 55-gallon barrel left behind or possibly used for burning.

Irene’s phone is not pinging on any network, according to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.

Anyone with information that could help locate Irene, regardless of how insignificant it may appear, are requested to forward the information to the GPD at 307- 682-5155.


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