Liberia: Government Ups Ante And Contradicts Itself in Murder Investigation of John Tubman, Others

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Monrovia – The investigation into the murder of John Hilary Tubman, one of the sons of former Liberian President William V.S. Tubman, took a twist near the weekend when the Ministry of Justice ordered a post mortem investigation into his death and that of two others who were also discovered dead in their homes in a fashion akin to son of the former President.

However, the announcement of a post mortem investigation by the Ministry appears to be sharply contradicting earlier claims by the spokesperson of the Liberia National Police, H. Moses Carter, over a fortnight ago that an autopsy had been conducted on remains of the former president’s son and the findings from the pathologist would be readily available two week later.

“We are awaiting the pathologist’s results—once foul play has been established, the person of interest will be picked up,” said Carter in an interview on October 13.

The contradictory claims from the MoJ and the LNP suggest that the latter, which operates under the authority of the former, is not operating in tandem in solving the spate of murder cases which has cast a palpable stricken fear across the country.

Upping the ante furthermore, the Government of Liberia has released the photos of Christian Byron Anderson and William V.S. Anderson who it identifies as persons of interest and a US$15k reward for information on their whereabouts as well as the killers of Rev. William R. Tolbert, III and Madam Maude Elliot.

William R. Tolbert, III, son of former Liberian President, William R. Tolbert Jr. and Madam Maude Elliot, personnel of the Liberia Immigration Service were recently discovered dead in their various homes.

There has been no evidence so far to suggest whether the three gory murders are related or the handiwork of a serial killer on the rise in the country. But it has heightened fears about security in Liberia as the country prepares for the bi-centennial celebration of its founding, and has also raised questions on the competence of the leadership of the Liberia National Police under the stewardship of Inspector General Patrick Sudue.

Tubman, who was reportedly opened about being gay in a country that is yet to come to terms with the different shades of human sexuality, was the son of former Liberian President William V.S. Tubman whose lifeless body was found in his home on September 22, 2021 with a spatter of blood from stabbing and facial wounds. Though the Liberia National Police has ruled out a motive of hate crime due to his sexuality, sources say it cannot be ruled out.

The Liberia’s Initiative for the Promotion of Rights, Identity, Diversity and Equality (LIPRIDE), in a statement said the community remains saddened by the death of Tubman as it is a stark reminder that LGBT people are vulnerable, regardless of status. 

“His death reminds us that every member of the LGBTI community in Liberia, whether rich or poor, our lives are in danger,” LIPRIDE said in a statement. They added that it is imperative that the government protects everyone, including those who identify as sexual minorities. 

“We are calling on the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), the United Nations Office of the High Commission on Human Rights (OHCHR) to take actions against the government for failing to abide brightsan right treaties they signed up to.”

The death of John Hilary Tubman comes a year following the disappearance of Dominic Renner and Winston Toe. Renner and Toe’s disappearance has been linked to Cheeseman Cole, an ex-soldier of the Armed Forces of Liberia who reportedly used Facebook to “catfish” over 27 men he suspected of being gay. 

Though evidence strongly suggested and linked Cole to their disappearance, the LNP failed to hold the ex-soldier for the whereabouts of the two men including a tip of skeletal remains which were found on a land which adjoins Cole’s residence.

LGBTQ Liberians continue to face widespread threats, assault, harassment, and hate speech, according to the 2020 U.S. State Department Human Rights report

Though Cole was arrested and briefly detained at the Monrovia Central Prison, he has been freed on bail awaiting trial. The status of the case continues to remain shrouded in secrecy as the Ministry of Justice appears reluctant to prosecute.

‘Persons of Interest’

The revelation of Christian Byron Anderson and William V.S. Anderson as persons of interest in the murder of John Hilary Tubman raises questions on the nature of relationship between the two men and the deceased.

According to the Liberia National Police, the duo has not been seen since the death of Tubman, suggesting that they may have been frequent visitors to the residence of the son of the former president. Family sources have been tightlipped in confirming or denying the information.

It is not clear whether the two men who are said to be on the run are related based on the surname, or whether the former is a jilted lover who was out for revenge.

But sources in the LGBT community in Liberia confirmed to journalRAGE that Christian Byron Anderson identifies as a bisexual. According to sources, Byron Anderson lives on the Old Road and has a vindictive personality.

“I know him from the Old Road,” a source said on the condition of anonymity. “He used to go out with a friend of mine. I don’t know what the person did to him but he said he would not forgive them. Every time he always talked about it. Byron likes money business so I hope he didn’t kill that papay for money which may have been promised to him.”

Another source also speaking on condition of anonymity said the suspect often shuttles between Old Road and the RIA Highway. “I remember him saying he built his house on the Robertsfield Highway. He used to brag that he built his house from operating a Play Station booth. His family house in on the Smythe Road in Old Road.”

The whereabouts of Christian Byron Anderson and William VS Anderson, “persons of interests” may be the key to solving the murder of John Hilary Tubman as well determining whether the motive is a jilted lover exacting a pound of flesh or a robbery which went horribly wrong. Investigation continues.

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