The police claim that Victoria Zayzay, a twenty-year-old pregnant woman who was discovered dead in her holding cell in the morning hours of October 21, 2015 with a piece of lappa around her neck hanged herself, appears to be untrue.
The official autopsy report has not been published but a leaked copy reveals that the two Ghanaian pathologists who conducted the autopsy confirmed that Victoria Zayzay did not die from hanging.
In their final report, the pathologists said: “There is no bleeding into the scrap muscle and surrounding soft tissue is seen, the greater horns of the hyoid bone is soft and pliable and, no facture is present,” adding “Thyroid cartilage is intact and no fracture seen.”
A highly placed Ministry of Justice (MOJ) source confirmed the authenticity of the final autopsy report to journalists on condition of anonymity.
“We received the report sealed and we quickly contacted the Zayzays and their lawyers before we unsealed it,” the source said.
“We are not going to hide anything. This is why we brought into the country the two Ghanaian Pathologists.
“Since the report is now here, we are going to conduct further investigation and if it establishes that anyone is involved, we are going to deal with such person according to the law.
“We have been handling Zayzay’s death in our cell transparently, and we to assure the public that we will remain transparent until the matter is brought to rest,” the MOJ source assured the public.
Taken into police custody on October 20, 2015 for alleged involvement in a fistfight with another woman, Victoria Zayzay was discovered dead the following morning, while still in police custody at the Zone-6, Depot 1 police holding cell on the Hotel Africa Road, outside Monrovia.
The family of the late Victoria cried foul when police dismissed her death as suicide, claiming that that was how police officers found her in the cell that morning.
Family members said the late Zayzay was detained when she and another lady reportedly fought over spilled milk candy valued at L$1,500. According to the commander at the depot, it was decided that Zayzay should spend the night in police custody to “teach her a lesson.” Her mother pleaded with the police to allow her to take her pregnant daughter home and return with her to the police station the next day, but her appeal was denied.
Zayzay’s death prompted an investigation by government, which subsequently brought into the country two pathologists from Ghana to establish the cause of death.