Edwina Atieno Onyango

Onyango, circa 2007; Ernest Freeby

  • Missing Since 12/27/2007
  • Missing From Lansford, Pennsylvania
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race Black
  • Date of Birth 10/18/1973 (50)
  • Age 34 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'2 - 5'3, 130 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics African-American female. Black hair, brown eyes. Onyango may use the alias name Veronica Gaya. Some agencies refer to her as Edwine Onytango. She is a native of Kenya and moved to the United States in 1998. Onyango has a scar on the left side of her face, a scar under her left eye and pierced ears.

Details of Disappearance

Onyango was last seen at her estranged husband's home in the 200 block of west Bertsch Street in Lansford, Pennsylvania on December 27, 2007. She lived and worked in Allentown, Pennsylvania at the time of her disappearance. Her husband, Ernest Troy Freeby, asked her to come to his house, saying he had an insurance check.

He says she left his house with an unidentified woman. She has never been heard from again. Her brother reported her missing. A photo of Freeby is posted with this case summary. He and Onyango married in March 2001.

Onyango's car was found at her husband's home. Freeby used her credit card in several locations in the days after she went missing. He says she gave it to him when he last saw her. Onyango's cellular phone was also used three days after she vanished; it made two calls to Freeby's phone, three minutes apart.

Freeby told authorities his wife had mailed him two cards after she disappeared, but he couldn't produce the envelopes. He stated his relationship with Onyango was a marriage of convenience, contracted in part so she could get a green card and live in the United States legally. Onyango's family disputed Freeby's description of the relationship, and stated she only lived apart from Freeby because her job as a live-in care provider kept her in Allentown during the week.

A trail of Onyango's blood was found in Freeby's basement after her disappearance. The blood went down the basement steps and into the coal bin. Investigators stated the evidence indicated Onyango sustained "substantial" injury at someplace other than the basement. Someone had tried to clean up by painting over the stains. In August 2009, Freeby was charged with his wife's murder and with evidence tampering.

Freeby maintains his innocence in Onyango's disappearance and says he believes she's still alive. He claims he saw her in July 2009 and believes she's involved in credit card fraud. His mother stated also she saw Onyango after her 2007 disappearance. At his three-week trial in January 2011, Freeby argued Onyango was still alive and had reasons of her own to leave. He was convicted of first-degree murder and evidence tampering.

Onyango has nine siblings, most of whom live in the United States. She had frequent contact with her family in Kenya prior to her disappearance, but none of them have heard from her since she went missing. She hasn't used her credit cards or bank accounts since December 2007. Foul play is suspected in Onyango's case due to the circumstances involved.

Investigating Agency

  • Pennsylvania State Police
  • Troop N
  • 570-459-3890

Updated 7 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated January 31, 2012; details of disappearance updated.