At late Odell Sherman’s funeral, mother warns perpetrator: “you will never find peace because you took my peace away from me…”
Mrs. Cynthia Rivercess Sherman, the mother of the late Odell Sherman, said the government of Liberia (GOL) has denied her family justice in the murder case of their daughter.
In tears of sorrow on Friday, August 30, 2019, Mrs. Sherman told the audience who gathered to celebrate the home going Odell, at the St. Moses Funeral Parlor along the Somalia Drive that after the burial of her only daughter, she will not rest until she brings to book the perpetrator.
Odell Sherman, a senior high school student of the Harriett Bailey United Methodist School, was discovered unconscious in the home of Reverend Emmanuel Giddings in Duazohn, Margibi County during the early morning hours of Tuesday, May 22, 2019, following the completion of her West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). When Rev. Giddings took her to the ELWA Hospital, she was pronounced dead on arrival, a medical report from the hospital said.
“We were denied every aspect of getting justice. Even at the verge of getting justice, we were still denied. All I have to say to the perpetrator: you will never find peace because you took my peace away from me,” Mrs. Sherman said.
She said “Odell was my existing photocopy; inasmuch you took her from me, everything that you worked for will never succeed, anything your hand touches shall all die….”
“I will never give up on my God” Mrs. Sherman said, “for I know that this is the time of trial. And after these troubled days and dark hours is a great testimony for me. Yes, I know that it is painful but God still there for me.”
Mrs. Sherman said there will come a time that she will surely ensure justice for her daughter because “I will never give up on your case.”
She said there is a need for her to understand the unexplained circumstances of her daughter’s death, if not for the current government, then for the next government.
Mrs. Sherman said there are many people who have lost their beloved relatives and girls who have been raped but cannot justice because of a ‘corrupt system.’
“People always say that the reason why rape victims cannot get justice is that their cases are not reported. But this case was reported; there is no investigation, no crime scene photo, no suspects and police charge sheet… what kind of Liberia is this? Where are we heading to?” she questioned the justice system.
Mrs. Sherman’s struggle with Odell
Mrs. Sherman said she carried Odell in her womb for eleven months. This included one week of severe labor pain, without eating or drinking, after which she had to struggle during the heat of the of the Liberian civil war with a child born in the village.
“After eight years, of struggle with my daughter, I had to go back to school and my daughter needed to get in school…can you image, a mother and daughter in the same school together in SDA school Buchanan. As soon as the bell rings for recess, Odell would run to my class and my friends will mock me by saying, ‘Cynthia, we do not have baby ma in this class so please ask your daughter out’,” she said.
Mrs. Sherman said, “Yes! I would leave the class and get out to take care of my daughter because I knew that she was my future light and needed a brighter future, I also understood that she was a girl child and only education could help her.”
She said her husband had to work as a security guard in order to feed their family. And while people took it as a disgrace, she took it as a challenge to make her daughter have a brighter future.
Mrs. Sherman said after her graduation from high school, she had an opportunity for a good job. However, she needed to chose between the job and going back to school.
“Here is Odell lying down… with all of the struggles, just one person has frustrated my effort,” she said. “Odell’s death has created a vacuum in my heart that only God can fill.”
Alphonso O. Sherman, father of the late Odell, said his family will take issue with both the ELWA hospital and Rev. Giddings are held accountable for Odell’s death in the next government, because he is not sure of receiving justice under the President George Manneh Weah administration.
Mr. Sherman said it is sad to see that the person on whose property the remains of Odell was found is still moving around Monrovia without due process.
He said the police keeps protecting the Giddings family because they are well connected but, “there is a God of justice who sees everybody equally.”
The funeral was graced by Representative Rosana G. D. Schaack, Rivercess County District #2 and the chairperson of the Female Legislative Caucus; the March for Justice; Seekers of Justice, the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY); the Mano River Union Youth Parliament-Liberia Chapter (MRUYP-LC); the Paramount Young Women Initiative (PAYOWI), the #WeAreUnprotected Campaign; and the Liberia National Student Union (LINSU). They vowed to stand with the Sherman family to get justice.