–– Says Cynthia Sherman, mother of the late Odell
Mrs. Cynthia River Cess Sherman, mother of the late Odell Sherman, a high school student whose near lifeless body was discovered early Tuesday, May 22, 2019 at the home of Reverend Emmanuel Giddings in Duazohn, Margibi County, said the family no longer trusts the government to conduct autopsy on the remains of their daughter.
Madam Sherman’s anger grew out of the conflicting information from both the Liberia National Police (LNP) spokesman, H. Moses Carter and authorities of the ELWA Hospital.
Mrs. Sherman said after three different reports from the ELWA Hospital, the autopsy is expected to establish the cause of death.
Mrs. Sherman, in a protest with the Liberia National Student Union (LNSU) on July 3, 2019, held at the St. Moses Funeral Parlor along the Somalia Drive, where the government was expected to conduct the autopsy yesterday on Odell’s remains, said after the family had requested the Liberia National Police (LNP) in two different communications to order an independent Pathologist to examine her 21 year-old daughter, the family was informed by Moses Carter that the state does not have said money.
The protest later extended to the LNP headquarters on the Capitol By-Pass, blocking the flow of traffic to make their concern known to the public, NGOs and the international community.
“We were able to open our own ‘go fund me’ account and raise the money from some Liberians who feel our pains and understand that our family needs justice for Odell, who did not end her future,” she said.
“The government allowed us used that huge among of money,” Mrs. Sherman explained, “only to tell us that the pathologist we brought does not have license to practice in the country; that he is not allow to conduct the autopsy, but serve as an observer on the very government team that we said we did not trust form the beginning.”
She said with the case of Angel Tokpah, the Pathologist that conducted the autopsy was not licensed to practice in the country but, for transparency, he was allowed to examine the body.
Mrs. Sherman said the family was informed by the LNP that they were ‘single-handedly’ going to conduct the autopsy on Odell’s remains on Wednesday, July 2, which is why the family gathered to protest. However, when Moses Carter observed that they were present at St. Moses, he informed a local radio talk show, via mobile phone, that the girl’s body was taken to JFK by the state, a statement which the funeral authorities disproved by taking a few family members to see where the body was kept.
She said from the way the LNP is secretly dealing with her daughter’s murder case and manipulating public information, gives credence to suspicions that the police are protecting the family of Rev. Giddings.
“The government is not giving us justice today because we do not have money and we are from a poor family. Even though we are from a poor family, the God that we serve is not a poor God; he will allow Odell have Justice,” Mrs. Sherman said.
Mrs. Sherman said since Odell was murdered on May 22, the LNP has not been able to produce a suspect, account or even police charge sheet about who is responsible for her death.
She further indicated that, inasmuch as Odell’s unconscious body was not found in the street but in the home of Rev. Emmanuel Giddings, who was also in the yard, he and those living in the compound cannot be referred to as “persons of interest, but suspects.”
Mrs. Sherman said inasmuch as the government has put on a noncompliance posture toward giving her family justice, she too, will not rest until they can kill her along with her daughter as it was done recently in he Kingsville community with a family who was demanding justice for their children.
Moses Carter told a local radio talk show that the autopsy was to be conducted yesterday by a Liberian pathologist that was trained by UNDP, not the pathologist brought into the country by the family, because he is not a pathologist but a forensic investigator, who does not have any knowledge about the process.
He said in the case of Odell Sherman, the crime is against the state, which gives them the right to carry out a proper investigation by ensuring that those liable can face the full Wight of the law.
“So, today, the autopsy of the late Odell Sherman will be conducted and the public will be duly informed about the cause of her death,” he said.
However, the autopsy has been postponed to Friday, July 5, 2019.
Since the Weah-led government took office 19 months ago, Liberia has become a protest ground over recurrent issues of poor justice system, abuse of power and corruption.
Among the series of protest that were held in Monrovia, the first major protests are the Campaigners and Victims For Justice calling for the establishment of war and economic crime court, the bring back our money protest; marketers in the Goba-chop market calling for the removal of garbage from their selling area; the historic June 7 protest; and yesterday, was the family of 21 years Odell Sherman demanding justice.