-Husband of brutally murdered Joyce Otu-Jaywheh, others, suspect Police manipulations in murder investigation
Hopes that justice will be served in the death of Madam Joyce Otu-Jaywheh, who was brutally murdered exactly three months two days ago at her Zoewloh residence in the ELWA community, is dwindling by the day as family members now fear that justice is becoming elusive. Families of the victim, especially her husband, are frustrated by the fact that it is unknown whether her killer, though identified, has been arrested as the Liberia National Police (LNP) is mute on the case. These and many other reasons have given family members clues that the police is shielding the suspect Francoise Brown from prosecution.
Investigation conducted by the Daily Observer indicates that the suspect has since been arrested by the LNP, but the police have since failed to inform the family and the public of this development. “This is a worrisome situation for us because we are not being updated on this case and we don’t know what is happening,” the deceased’s husband, William Bowee Jaywheh, who is resident in the United States, told the Daily Observer in an interview over the weekend.
Mrs. Joyce Otu-Jawheh was brutally murdered in her self-contained fenced house in the Zoewloh neighborhood of ELWA Community. According to police preliminary investigation, the victim’s assailant(s) allegedly split her head and sliced her throat in her bedroom. Her son, Beko Freeman, was initially declared a prime suspect.
The LNP later declared one Francois Browne wanted for the gruesome act, and called on the public to provide information on his whereabouts. That pronouncement was triggered by a tip-off reportedly received from the mother of suspect Browne, Tellewo Jallah, from her Kakata residence, alleging that he had killed a lady.
But since April, the LNP is yet to provide any update on the case, not just to the family but to the public as well, although the Daily Observer has been reliably informed that the suspect has been arrested since but his whereabouts are currently unknown.
Investigation conducted by the Observer unveiled what seems to be a ploy being orchestrated by some top officials within the hierarchy of the Liberia National Police, to enable a suspected murderer evade justice. Sources within the LNP revealed to this reporter that some elements within the Force, especially from the top, are attempting to shield the suspect from prosecution. Family sources also corroborated this information. They said the chief detective who was assigned to the case, Abu Daramy, does not any longer provide information to the family since his initial interaction when the death occurred.
“What we are getting is that they [the LNP] want to transfer the suspect to the Grand Gedeh prison facility as a way of shielding him from the limelight and removing him from public focus. I’m even afraid that as we speak he is already in Grand Gedeh,” a source within the LNP, who asked not to be named, told this reporter.
All of these are being orchestrated by the father of the accused, Peter Browne, who is said to wield strong influence in the security sector, having once served as a police detective. Police insider sources say that the elder Browne is a good friend to many high ranking officers of the police and other paramilitary organizations. The father is also reported to be an Instructor of Criminal Justice at a local University in Monrovia.
“This is the main reason the arrest of Francois is still kept as a secret and his identity is yet to be disclosed to the public, not even to the deceased’s family,” the LNP source noted.
The correction facility in Grand Gedeh is meant for hardcore criminals who have been prosecuted and convicted under the law, but this seems not to be the case as the suspect is reported to be detained at the Grand Gedeh facility, although the police is yet to officially announce the arrest of suspect Francois Brown, let alone to talk about his appearance in court.
“This, we believe, is a ploy to evade justice,” a family source, who only preferred to be called Garmondeh, told the Daily Observer.
“This baffles me a lot and I think this is an orchestrated ploy to help the suspect evade justice, but we cannot sit and allow this,” he said.
Sources in Grand Gedeh confirmed to the Daily Observer that the suspect’s name is on the list of prisoners currently held at that maximum detention center, though he doubts whether the suspect is presently there in person.
A veteran security personnel in Zwedru noted: “It is done like this and then subsequently those criminals are set free by higher authorities. And those whose families have money are taken out of the country. While these things are happening, others out there, mostly the victims and their families, are made to believe that the perpetrators are in jail but that is not the case.”
Detective Daramy is one of several persons at the center of the alleged manipulations.
When contacted yesterday, Deputy Police Inspector General Robert Budy told the Observer that suspect Francois is still on the run. But he immediately hung up his phone and refused to answer further calls.
Bringing the case back into focus
As it now appears, justice seems to be eluding the grief-stricken family, especially the devastated husband who is yet to come to grips with what has happened.
“People may say I’m in Liberia, but I’m practically in hell since my other half died in such an ugly manner. I’m yet to gain full consciousness and come to the realization that my wife of over 20 years is no more,” Mr. Jaywheh noted.
He noted that what is even more disheartening is the manner in which the government is handling the case. “My family and I are yet to get any information as to how far the investigation into the case is proceeding. Everyone and everything is mute.”
The family wants to bring the case back into focus, he said. “All we crave is justice. Those who killed my wife should face justice.
“Let the Police make us to know that this guy has been arrested and that he will be prosecuted. There should have been at least a pronouncement that the individual has been apprehended. But their perpetual silence is a clear indication that something sinister is going on. A man cannot take another persons’ life gruesomely like that and you want to protect that person. Where is your sense or feeling of compassion? Do you know the level of suffering we are going through as a family? This is very unfair and I want to call on the President to personally intervene into this situation ensuring that justice is served,” Mr. Jaywheh said.
Suspect’s father and deceased were lovers
The suspect’s father, Peter Browne, investigation uncovered, had a close relationship with the deceased. Sources indicate that both had intimate relationship and that whenever she was in Liberia both were usually found together.
During the morning hours of the day of her death, sources told the Observer that Peter Browne and two others, along with the deceased, rode in her vehicle to go to town. The two other persons, one a boy living with the deceased and the other, the deceased’s extended relatives, were dropped at ELWA while the two “lovers” headed to town.
She was not seen again until her lifeless body was discovered later, the family source said.
When asked whether he knew his wife was having extra-marital affairs with the suspect’s father, Mr. Jaywheh responded in the affirmative—indicting that a lot of quarrels in the past ensued between his late wife and him over Peter Browne’s activities with her.
“We always had quarrels whenever I thought to engage her on her activities with this guy. She would often get offended whenever I engage her on his matters. But this is not the issue for now. She was my wife and circumstances surrounding her death, especially in such a manner, need to be investigated thoroughly,” Mr. Jaywheh said.
Mr. Jaywheh wondered why Peter is still walking scot-free in Monrovia when he should have been one of the prime suspects. “The police have all of the information I’m providing you here. They are treating this case with friendship, but we are talking about the life of a family woman here. Her husband and children are grieving and they need to be served justice, not partially but to its fullest,” he said.
Jaywheh also is not pleased that his son, Beko Freeman, who was initially suspected of being the killer, is yet to be publicly declared innocent of any wrongful act by the police.
“What we expected from the police was to come back and tell the public that Beko was not the doer of the act, but they didn’t, which is very sad. His name has been spread all over the world so they should have made that clarification. But they only allowed him to go home without any clarification and he is living with that trauma and shame,” Mr. Jaywheh noted.
Several visits paid to the Zone-5 Depot and LNP headquarters to meet with Daramy did not yield fruit as this reporter was told consistently that he was not in his office. Attempts to contact him by phone also proved fruitless.
Police Spokesman Moses Carter also failed to respond to calls after several attempts. He did not also respond to a text message sent to his number.