Gov’t Yet to Accept Odell Sherman Family’s Pathologist

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The late student Odell Sherman

In spite of the fact that he is the Chief Medical Examiner of Washington, DC

Is exactly 89 days today after Odell Sherman’s near-lifeless body was discovered at the home of Reverend Emmanuel Giddings in Duazohn, Margibi County, the Government of Liberia (GoL) is yet to accept the Curriculum Vitae (CV) of Dr. Roger A. Mitchell Jr., which the family of the deceased submitted to authorities of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on July 22, 2019.

Dr. Roger Mitchell, Jr. is the Chief Medical Examiner of Washington, D.C., a position he has held since February 2014. He is licensed to practice medicine in Washington DC.

Dr. Mitchell has performed over 1,400 autopsy examinations in his career and has testified as an expert on numerous cases. He also is board certified in Anatomic and Forensic Pathology by the American Board of Pathology and a Fellow with the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME). Dr. Mitchell has recently served as the National Co-Chair for the National Medical Association’s (NMA) Working Group on Gun Violence and Police Use of Force.

Odell was a senior high school student of the Harriett Bailey United Methodist School. Having completed her West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), the afternoon prior to her death, she made her way tot he Giddings’ residence, where she was discovered lying on the ground, unconscious during the early morning hours of Tuesday, May 22, 2019. She was later pronounced dead shortly after doctors at the ELWA Hospital, where she was rushed, examined her.

Odell’s remains have since been reposed at the St. Moses Funeral Parlor along the Somalia Drive, awaiting government’s investigation and subsequent examination by a pathologist.

But government’s delay to conduct the expected autopsy on her body, has left the public to conclude that the government’s decision not to approve the foreign-based pathologist is a ruse to protect those individuals, who allegedly murdered her.

A letter written by Odell’s family, and signed by Alphonso O. Sherman, father of the deceased, reads:

“Dear Cllr. Dean,

“Greetings from the Sherman’s Family.

“The family is grateful to the GoL for the attention and commitment made to pay for the independent pathologist that will be hired to conduct an autopsy on the remains of our late daughter, Odell P. Sherman.

“We acknowledged receipt of your letter stating that, according to the Liberia Medical Council, Dr. Rockefeller Cooper is not licensed to practice in Liberia, thereby disqualifying him from conducting an independent autopsy on the remains of our late daughter.

“In said regard, please see attached the Curriculum Vitae (CV) of Dr. Roger A. Mitchell Jr., an independent pathologist, with whom negotiations will be concluded based on your feedback after the perusal of his credentials by you and the Liberia Medical Council,” the letter concluded.

Since the communication was written to the Ministry of Justice on July 22 by Odell’s family, the government is yet to confirm or deny their request.

It can be recalled that during the morning of July 3, 2019, Mrs. Cynthia Rivercess Sherman, mother of the late Odell Sherman, in a peaceful protest at the St. Moses Funeral Parlor, said with the conflicting information from both the Liberia National Police (LNP) spokesman, H. Moses Carter, and authorities of the ELWA Hospital, the family no longer trusts the government to conduct the autopsy on the remains of their daughter.

Roger A. Mitchell, Jr., M.D. is the Chief Medical Examiner of Washington, DC and has performed over 1,400 autopsy examinations in his career.

On July 4, a day after Mrs. Sherman’s pronouncement, President George Weah assured a feminist group that the government had accepted the request of the family of the late Odell Sherman to bring in any independent pathologist of their choice, to conduct an autopsy on the remains of the deceased.

In a a meeting with the leadership of “March for Justice,” a local non-governmental organization (NGO), President Weah further assured the family of the deceased that the government will take responsibility to pay the cost of hiring any qualified pathologist when brought in by the family of the late Odell Sherman.

President Weah said his commitment to fighting abuse, discrimination, and exploitation against women and girls remains strong and determined, and that justice against sexual predators will not be compromised.

President Weah said rape, domestic abuse, and sexual harassment have no place in any civilized society, vowing to visit the full force of the law upon perpetrators.

As it stands with the case of the late Odell’s murder investigation, many Liberians, on various local radio talk shows, have described the President’s self-anointed “Feminist-In-Chief” title as “mere bluff.”

According to critics, being a “Feminist-In-Chief” should not be only in words but deeds, adding that selective justice is not the best way to end violence against women and girls.

The Human Rights Monitoring arm of the United Methodist Church (UMC) has also called for a speedy investigation, to bring to book those involved in the murder of Odell Sherman to have them face the full weight of the law.

In an exclusive interview, Jefferson Knight, UMC Program Director for Human Rights, told the Daily Observer on July 8, 2019, that even though Rev. Giddings is an elder in the Methodist Church, it is important that his family, the hospital and all those directly linked with Odell’s murder case undergo investigation.

More on Dr. Roger A. Mitchell, Jr.

Dr. Mitchell is currently Chief Medical Examiner, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Washington, DC, a position he has held since February 2014. From March to July 2015, he served as Interim Director Department of Forensic Sciences for the City of Washington, DC. Prior to the posts in DC, Dr. Mitchell served in Assistant or Deputy Medical Examiner positions in Newark, New Jersey; Harris County, Texas and New York City.

A graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC and New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, Dr. Mitchell began the study of forensic science and violence prevention as a Forensic Biologist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – DNA Unit in January 1997.

Dr. Mitchell also has a strong academic footprint, having served as Adjunct Professor of Forensic Science at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland; and well as Chief Resident of Pathology at George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC.

4 COMMENTS

  1. This unnecessary delay in recognizing and cooperating with the family pathologist in this case, is another torturing act of government on an already decimated family, still grieving the wanton killing of their daughter by unscrupulous elements hidden in plain sight. If this government is really neutral in this case and concerned and eager to know too, what or who killed this young lady, then why is it stalling this case? Is the government not interested in knowing how this young lady died, in the interest of calming the prevailing public anxiety and suspicion that the young lady was murdered? Or soothing the continuing agony of this family in anticipation of quick answers to their own suspicion? And in order to pursue the next course of action in the event it is proven that this girl was indeed murdered?. One wonders what could insiders like Sylvester Baghdad Moses and fellow GOL apologists tell us this time, as rationale for this undue delay for the go-ahead by government for the autopsy in this case? Is it fair for the government to keep dragging this investigation thereby prolonging the grieving of this family, especially in the absence of any rational extenuating explanation to the family as to why the delay? And when citizens rise up again in protest against this blatant indifference, demanding a speedy intervention in this matter by the GOL, then the Baghdad Moses of Liberia as paid internet trolls, will mount horses to not only malign such persons as “anti-establishment, but whip any such persons in order “to teach them lesson.” How long will such unsavory dispensation continue? Time will surely tell.

  2. What if you were told the government has to recognize, accept and give the go-ahead before this pathologist does any investigatory work, will that allay your ignorance? And what could be the fear in all of us wanting to know the cause of this young lady’s death? Does that even register anywhere in that drug infested brain of yours? Perhaps not until it is one of your relatives? Another obvious semi-literate interloper.

  3. “Roger A. Mitchell, Jr., M.D. is the Chief Medical Examiner of Washington, DC”

    You will not get anything better than the MD above. He should do his job immediately so you people can move on.
    God bless your.

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