The mother of late Odell Sherman has threatened to sue the Liberian Government at the ECOWAS Court for its failure to reopen her daughter’s case despite several appeals. Odell’s lifeless body was discovered in the home of Rev. Emmanuel Giddings in Duazohn, Margibi County on May 22, 2019 after completing her West African Secondary School Certificate Examination.
According to Cynthia Sherman, the government committed a grave crime against her family by closing the case without following the advice of pathologist, Dr. Roger Mitchell.
Mrs. Sherman also accused the government of denying her family justice through the police “Due to its failure to conduct a proper investigation into her daughter’s homicide case before closing the case.”
“When I am going to the ECOWAS Court of Justice, I am not only filing a lawsuit against Rev. Giddings, but also the government, for refusing to give my family the needed justice,” she said.
Mrs. Sherman expressed frustration that she has to seek justice for her daughter far away when her country has a functional government that should adjudicate her case on the advice of the pathologist brought in to do an examination on her deceased daughter’s body.
“My fight is no more about Odell but for other girls to not face the same sad ending. This country’s justice system is rotten and is only for the higher bidder. My daughter may have been denied justice in her own country today, but I am sure and certain that this will not be the case at the ECOWAS Court of Justice,” Mrs. Sherman said.
On August 13, 2019, U.S. pathologist, Dr. Roger A. Mitchell, while conducting the autopsy, said due to the condition of the body, the process could not establish whether Odell was sexually assaulted or not.
He, however, recommended that the swipes taken from the vaginal tissue for analysis and possible extraction of DNA could be examined to determine if she was indeed sexually assaulted.
However, Dr. Mitchell’s recommendation to the government fell on deaf ears, as the case was closed without the government hiring Bode Technology, based in the USA to carry on the DNA, as specifically recommended by the pathologist.
Mrs. Sherman added that the government, having downplayed Dr. Mitchell’s recommendation suggests that they were in cahoots with Rev. Giddings to compromise the case and leave her without justice.
“It is unfortunate that the government closed the case without conducting the DNA or even trying to establish how she dropped from the [an upper floor] of Rev. Giddings’s house. The government denied us justice because Rev. Giddings is highly connected and influential, but I strongly believed that the ECOWAS Court will be able to give me justice for my daughter,” Mrs. Sherman alleged.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Sherman also alleged that since the death of her daughter, she has been receiving threatening messages from unknown numbers — a situation she says has forced her to relocate from her home.
On October 15, 2019, the Liberia National Police declared that the Odell case was closed without conducting the DNA tests as recommended by an independent pathologist.
The police, in a release, said there was “no foul play” in Odell’s death. According to LNP, Odell’s death was “accidental” and not “homicide”.
Dr. Mitchell told the police that while Odell died as the result of “Blunt Force Trauma of the Head,” it was important for them to further investigate how she got in the house without her friends and the cause of the falling that resulted in her death.
Mrs. Sherman, during the burial of her daughter on Friday, August 30, 2019, said in tears that she will not rest until she brings to book the perpetrator.
“We were denied justice. Even on 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.