www.baltimoresun.com/explore/harford/publications/the-aegis/ph-ag-kinyua-past-0606-20120604,0,7638476.story

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Cannibalism suspect had unremarkable career at Joppatowne High

Current JHS students call Kinyua case 'weird,' 'sad'

BY BRYNA ZUMER, bzumer@theaegis.com

4:52 PM EDT, June 5, 2012

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Information on the background of Alex Kinyua, who is being held in isolation at the Harford County Detention Center, has been hard to come by.

The Joppa man, who is charged with murder and related counts in a case involving allegations of cannibalism, is being held alone in a cell until his trial, Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Monica Worrell said Tuesday.

"He is under constant watch and the only visitors that are allowed are his attorney," Worrell said.

Kinyua appears to have had a nondescript career as a student during his two years attending Joppatowne High School, where he graduated from in June 2008. More information has been available about his career at Morgan State University in Baltimore, where he has been studying electrical engineering since leaving Joppatowne High.

In the 2008 edition of "Polaris," the JHS yearbook, Kinyua's senior yearbook photo shows a well-groomed, angular young man, with just a hint of chin beard stubble.

This yearbook does not contain biographical information of the seniors, and most of the candid shots throughout it are not accompanied by captions.

There is one photo from the homecoming dance that appears to be of Kinyua and a female student posing for the camera.

He did not participate in sports or any of the school activities such as the two theater performance presented that year,"The Odd Couple"and "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown."

His name also does not appear on the two pages that list senior award winners and scholarship recipients.

Kinyua's younger brother, Jared, was a sophomore in the 2007-08 school year and has an individual photo in the yearbook along with those of his classmates.

Jared is also in the team photo of the wrestling team. He wrestled with the varsity for three years and also played on the varsity football team, one of the region's best at the time. He graduated in 2010.

Joppatowne has a highly diverse student body. The Class of 2008 had 230 members.

Macon Tucker, who was principal at Joppatowne High School when Kinyua attended, said he did not have a comment regarding Kinyua, according to Harford County Public Schools spokeswoman Teri Kranefeld.

Bonnie Lambert, principal at Loch Raven High School in Baltimore County, where Kinyua attended prior to Joppatowne, said Monday she did not know him.

Current students at Joppatowne High School, Alex Kinyua's alma mater, had plenty to say about their suddenly infamous alumnus, some of them calling the situation "sad" or "weird."

Shortly after school let out Monday, several students said they knew of his brother, Jared Kinyua, but were not willing to discuss his family.

"I thought it was crazy," MacKenzie Noonan, 16, said about the case, adding it has been mentioned around school virtually every day, "like every period."

"I thought it was out of the ordinary. For him to cut up his body, for him to say, 'I ate it,' it's unbelievable," MacKenzie said. 

She thought it should make people think about those around them.

"It made me look at, you have to keep your friends closer. You have to analyze your friends," MacKenzie said.

Regina Poole, 15, and Max Boles, 16, also said they were surprised it happened in their community.

"I think it's sad," Regina said. 

Max said: "The fact that it's in Joppatowne is kind of mind blowing."

Regina added: "Most people don't know it's from Joppatowne." 

Max, however, did not think it would affect the school's reputation.

"There's nothing really that bad about it," he said regarding how it might make the school look.

Marcola Paga, 15, said a relative of hers was on the team that helped discover the body parts.

"It's just really weird, the whole thing," she said of the incident. 

Marcola said she has only been in Joppatowne for five years, and was unsure how the incident might affect the perception of the school or town.

Nevertheless, she said, "I didn't think that anything like this would ever happen here."