Killings: Patterns, or Coincidence?

Police findings suggest that three recent mysterious deaths could be related

Reports from the Liberia National Police (LNP) reveal that the deaths of Rev. William R. Tolbert, Ms. Maude Elliot and John Hilary Tubman have curious similarities, revealing a pattern suggesting the possibility that the deaths could have all been by the same person. 

According to the police reports, all three were murdered in their homes, with a deep cut to the neck and a stab wound to the forehead. But members of the public have also been uneasy about the notion that two of the deceased are sons of former Liberian Presidents. They wonder if these patterns are coincidental or the works of a serial killer. 

This is a second set of strangely related murders occurring in the country since a year ago, after the mysterious deaths of three professional auditors and a senior tax manager in the employ of the Liberian government -- all within a period of eight days. 

No suspects were arrested. Following the fourth murder in that series, the President of Liberia, George Manneh Weah, called on citizens to install Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTVs) in their respective homes as a means of helping the police with investigations. According to him, although the government will do all it can to provide security, every Liberian should be their brother’s keeper.

Certainly, no one is taking these mysterious deaths lightly. Folks are either gravely concerned due to fear or by reason of proximity to the deceased. 

The Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (LBMEC), for example, are demanding an investigation into the gruesome death of Rev. William R. Tolbert, III -- a Baptist prelate, Liberia’s Peace Ambassador and a son of a former Liberian President. 

“The Baptist Convention in Liberia is disturbed and saddened about circumstances surrounding the death of  Rev. Dr. William R. Tolbert, III, at his home,” the group said in a statement this week. 

The remains of Tolbert, Ill, the youngest son of slain President William R. Tolbert, were found in a pool of blood in his home on Monday, November 1.

The LBMEC, through its President, Rev. Dr. Samuel Reeves, disclosed that the photo of the deceased shows that he was murdered and demands a speedy investigation into circumstances leading to his untimely death. 

“The alleged murder of Dr. Tolbert undermines the security of the state and continues to instill a sense of apprehension, alarm, and fear amongst the citizenry,” said Dr. Reeves. He demands that the Government “institute an investigation to bring the perpetrators of the alleged act to justice.” 

Up to the time of his death, Rev. Tolbert served as Liberia’s Peace Ambassador, a position to which he was appointed to by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and retained by the administration of President Weah. 

A statement from the Minister of Internal Affairs, Varney Sirleaf, described Tolbert as “a true agent of Peace and reconciliation” and his death as an “irreplaceable loss”.  

Before his death, the late Dr. Tolbert served the Baptist Convention as a Senior Elder and a member of the Convention Reconciliation Commission. He also served as Senior Pastor of the Zion Praise Baptist Church.

The late President William R. Tolbert, Jr, father of Dr. William R. Tolbert, III, who was a former President of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention, was also killed in cold blood on April 12, 1980, during the Centennial Anniversary of the Baptist Convention in Liberia.

‘Police Investigating’ 

Meanwhile, the LNP has announced that it is investigating the death of the younger Tolbert, and that of another person and called on the public to assist with any useful information. 

“The Liberia National Police has begun an investigation into the death of former statesman, Rev. William R. Tolbert, III, who was discovered in his children's bedroom in a pool of blood at 0800hrs at the Mesurado Compound on Bushrod Island.”

The Police said a physical examination conducted by their forensic team shows that the deceased was stabbed multiple times to his neck, chest, right eye, and upper back.

The police added that LNP investigators have begun talking with security guards of “the Geo Security Services who are providing security for the entire Mesurado Compound, as well as the deceased’s driver, house boy, and electrician.”

But the deaths of Tolbert and Maude Elliot, 53, a former Employee of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), in recent days, have shaken the ruling establishment, who are now under pressure to ensure that the country is safe. 

Although several other deaths have occurred in this year, involving the extraction of human parts, the police have done little to identify the perpetrators, let alone bring them to justice. Instead the Liberia National Police denied some of the killings and labeled them as false alarms and a plot by the opposition to discredit the Weah Administration. 

The killings are also happening at a time when the government is actively planning to commemorate the country’s bicentennial celebration for the settlement of ex-slaves from the United States of America, which led to the founding of the Republic in 1822.

Many tourists are expected to visit the country next year for the celebration but the wave of mysterious killings might jeopardize the events. 

Liberia was established in 1822 by the American Colonization Society (ACS) as a home for former slaves from the United States of America in Africa, and concurrently, next year, 2022, will mark 200 years since the nation was established.


Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice has ordered a post-mortem on the remains of Mr. John Hilary Tubman, Ms. Maude Elliot, and Rev. Tolbert. 

According to the Justice Ministry, the examination is part of a full-scale investigation being conducted by the Liberia National Police.

However, the ministry through the Police has launched a manhunt for Christian Byron Anderson and William V. S. Anderson in connection with the murder of John Hilary Tubman. 

Mr. Tubman, son of Liberia’s longest-serving President, William V. S. Tubman, was discovered dead at his Fiamah residence. He was found lying in a pool of blood on September 22.

His lifeless body was seen face down with deep cuts to the neck, forehead and covered with a pillow.

The manhunt was announced by the Ministry of Justice following the gruesome murders of Tolbert and Ms. Maude Elliot. 

They were killed in their homes like Tubman, and at the same time, the whereabouts of their murderers and identities remain unknown. 

It is reported that suspects broke into the home of the deceased through the window. 

Ms. Elliot was pronounced dead by the health workers at the JFK Hospital after being rushed to the hospital for treatment. She was unconscious with some serious bruises and cuts on her neck and forehead. These marks were left behind by the killer during the night hours of Sunday, October 31.

The assassin reportedly broke into the house by removing the iron bars from one of the windows of the victim, who was living alone in Jah Tondo Town, Brewerville.

Ms. Elliot's death, according to the Police, is also under probe and forensic examination has been conducted which showed that the deceased was seen with three chop wounds on her head and that the perpetrator gained entry in her room through her window. 

“It was also established that the deceased formerly worked with the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) in its Human Resource Department,” the police said. “Her body is currently deposited at the Samuel Stryker Funeral home for preservation pending the conduct of an autopsy.”