Police investigation says, but biological mother rejects claims
The Homicide Investigation Division of the Liberia National Police has disclosed that there is “No foul play” in the death of 11-year-old Jerome Brown, whose malnourished body was discovered in the home of his father, Emmanuel Brown, in Palm Beach Community on February 14, 2021.
Jerome’s biological mother, Mama Cole, is in tears and she believes that her son was starved to death as apparently evidenced by his malnourished body.
However, the LNP Homicide lead investigator who could only be identified by Police spokesperson Moses Carter in a Facebook live podcast as Jacob, dispelled belief held by Mama that the child died of starvation as a result of his father and stepmother refusing him food for three weeks. Instead, the Police, quoting the father and stepmother with whom the child had stayed, said he had been suffering from epilepsy.
The investigator in a video released by the LNP Communications Department said that on February 15, 2021, his department received a call from Police Zone 8 telling them that a malnourished child was discovered half-dead in the zinc shack home of his father and step mother, with the parents accused that they had refused to give food and water to the child for a period of three weeks.
“Our team of investigators took the boy’s remains to the Abraham Robert Funeral Home and on the 16th of February and there the Homicide Division of the LNP and the County Attorney of Montserrado, Edwin Martin, responded in establishing the facts surrounding the death of the child,” he said.
According to the LNP Homicide Investigator, both physical and internal examinations conducted showed “that there were no bruises, laceration and or abrasion…the body parts were all correct, but the body was in an advanced state of decomposition and skin scrip because the blood is no longer moving. After the examination, we observed that there was no foul play and the police are still investigating.”
Hawa Joma, a curious neighbor in the community, said she discovered the child in the zinc shack home. Upon spotting the body, she persisted to ascertain what was really in the zinc shack, and after carefully looking through she discovered that it was a skeletal body lying half-dead.
The police, giving reasons why the child was kept indoors, said, “The child was kept in the house according to the family because they did not want anyone to touch the body until police are involved.”
As the two conflicting views emerge in the death of Jerome, the police investigator only identified in the video recording as Jacob said they are still investigating to find out if the case is murder, manslaughter or negligent homicide.
He added: “We are still investigating and are encouraging everyone to help the police with information that will help us conclude the matter.”
Disclosing further, Jacob said the parents told the investigators that Jerome has been suffering from epilepsy since his birth, with his mother taking him all-around for spiritual treatment but to no avail.
The investigator said based on the fact that Jerome’s mother could not find a cure, she sent him to Emmanuel the father, a statement that proves contrary to Mama’s statement that she sent the child to the father upon request that Emmanuel wanted to have his son stay with him in Monrovia.
Jacob said “The step mother of little Jerome, Manee, has not been detained except the father. “ As Emmanuel Brown remains in detention, the Police is also calling for a lawyer to sign for him to be taken to the court after the three-day statutory period.
Meanwhile, Mama Cole has expressed disappointment in the LNP for coming out with such report after her child had allegedly been dehumanized and died because of an inhumane treatment.
She said the picture that is circulating about the child does not in any way show that his body was decomposing as claimed by the police.
“If my son has been sick, why did they hide it from me? Or why when the community members were asking for him they told them that he has come to me?” She questioned in tears.
She said even the box that the child was kept in is not appropriate for a living human being.