The National Traditional Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia on Monday, September 9, 2019, called on President George M. Weah to release the full report about circumstances surrounding the death of Odell Sherman.
The traditional leaders, after the completion of a week-long conference in Monrovia, presented a petition to President Weah at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighting the economic challenges in the country, lack of accountability, poor health delivery system, the government’s inability to fight corruption and poor leadership ability of the president.
The council said since the autopsy was conducted on the remains of Odell Sherman, the government has failed to update the public about its outcome.
According to Chief Zanzan Kawor, the government through the relevant authorities should make the autopsy report public and proceed with further investigations to have the perpetrators face the full weight of the law.
It may be recalled that the body of Odell, a senior high school student of the Harriett Bailey United Methodist School, was discovered at the home of Reverend Emmanuel Giddings in Duazohn, Margibi County during the early morning hours of Tuesday, May 22, 2019, after the completion of her West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
However, Dr. Roger A. Mitchell Jr., the Chief Medical Examiner for the City of Washington, DC and the pathologist who conducted the autopsy, said due to the deteriorated condition of the body, the autopsy could not establish whether Odell was sexually assaulted or not.
Dr. Mitchell recommended that swipes taken of vaginal tissue for analysis and possible extraction of DNA could be examined to determine if she was indeed sexually assaulted. And for this, he recommended to the government one such institution, Bode Technology, based in the USA. He said Bode Technology’s Forensic DNA services offer a forensic service that helps streamline analysis and efficiently process large volumes of untested sexual assault kits.
Moses Carter, LNP spokesperson in a telephone interview, told the Daily Observer in late August that all the samples needed for the DNA analysis have been taken and sent to the pathologists who will send it to a company in the USA to establish whether Odell was sexually assaulted.
“The autopsy has been conducted,” Carter said, “and we are waiting for the report from the pathologist. That is why we are not speaking about the result because the one going around in the press is not officially from the government, but Odell’s family.”
The Traditional Chiefs, in their petition, told President Weah: “the people of Liberia voted you to power with the highest majority ever in the history of this country, except for Charles Taylor, because they wanted you to fight corruption; restore hope for a man to walk home and present an earning that will put smiles on the faces of children; hope to walk to the hospital telling their children I am coming back and sure he returns and all the pains are gone because the facilities are up to date. Hope for equal justice.”
The Chiefs said it is no secret that President Weah took over the country in a deplorable economic condition. However, they are concerned about him making no efforts to disprove a statement made by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that there was money left in the national coffers. Instead, he continues to cast blame on her leadership for the collapse of the economy under his leadership.
According to the chiefs, it was also a disservice for President Weah to forgo his Presidential title, only in the name of campaigning for the Coalition for Democratic Change’s candidate in the just-ended Montserrado County District #15 by-election.
They reminded President Weah that he was elected President for all Liberians and not CDCians alone.