Liberia: Princess Cooper’s Family Blames GoL for Delay in 2nd Autopsy

Ms. Cooper's body was found in a fence behind the FAWAZ Building Construction Company at the ELWA Junction, Paynesville City, in a pool of blood that had oozed from her mouth and nose.

.... Demands body for befitting burial 

The family of Princess Cooper, a 25-year-old lady whose lifeless body was found face-down in a pool of blood around the Fawaz building material store building at the ELWA junction, has blamed the government for not allowing their approved pathologists into the country to conduct the second autopsy.

The family, through their spokesperson, Dr. Abel Momo said a total of five forensic pathologists were refused for three weeks into the country without any reasons; all of them cited insecurities and resistance issues before declining the process.

“With that, we've realized that indeed there are difficulties, constraints, and unfairness in trending the path to justice within our Nation whereas we can now confirm this road to obtaining justice will be a rocky path,” he said. 

“Therefore the family has seen this as a fruitless journey. In view of the few listed above, amongst several others and in an effort of bringing to closure our grief, bereavement and to foster peace of mind, we have therefore requested via a formal communication written to the Government of Liberia, through the Justice Ministry, to take delivery of the body of our beloved Princess for the purpose of giving her a befitting burial,” Dr. Momo added. 

The deceased was found in a pool of blood in a fence behind the Store, according to the Liberia National Police (LNP). She lived on the Bushrod Island community, Tweh Farm. On April 18, Drs. Benedict Kolee and his colleague, Zoebon B. Kpadeh, after an autopsy, said that Princess died mainly of progressive secondary pulmonary tuberculosis, which the family strenuously denied, prompting their demand for a second examination. 

Dr. Momo accused the Ministry of Justice of making it difficult for the family to have their authorized pathologists visit Liberia, which “implied massive fraud and hidden objectives.”

“We are also concerned that there were also few individuals captured as persons of interest yet only certain personalities were exposed to the general public, yet this was never the case with unidentified Lebanese individuals,” Dr. Momo disclosed as he lists some reasons why the family is now requesting the body of the deceased.  “Also, the family was and has never been respected in regards to communications during this entire process either directly or through our lawyers.”

The death of the young lady sparked widespread indignation and protest, with many people calling for justice and to reject the autopsy report that the government came up with.

In a late-night post, President Weah admitted that he had asked the Minister of Justice, Cllr. F. Musah Dean, to make Ms. Cooper’s body available for a second autopsy, to support the family in their efforts to bring closure to the circumstances surrounding their beloved daughter, as well as concerns raised by certain residents about the initial autopsy. 

Dr. Momo claimed that the police failed to bring all of the residents of the FAWAZ compound, as well as some nearby community-dwellers of the crime scene who he believed could have been strategically questioned and the information gathered compared to the confirmed visible assessments gathered from the crime scene. 

“That the first abrupt preliminary report published by the police, which then confirmed that there was no foul play but without any medical examination undermined the entire investigation process. And the family formally complained directly to the Ministry of Justice but the complaint falls on deaf ears.

“We also confirmed our disapproval for an autopsy to have been conducted by Dr. Kolee and his team due to qualification concerns. The police has failed to provide a full-scale or comprehensive report from what was gathered from their executed investigation so that one would see if it has any form of collaboration with the agreed government autopsy report,” said Dr. Momo.