Liberia: Police To Conduct Autopsy On Student Allegedly Raped To Death

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Monrovia – The Liberia National Police has revealed that an autopsy is expected to be done on the body of student Odell Sherman, who was discovered unconscious in the home of Rev. Emmanuel Giddings at his Duazohn, Margibi County.

She later died at the ELWA hospital after she was taken there for medical intervention.

On Monday, the police said the autopsy will establish the cause of death as the current death certificate produced by ELWA hospital is confusing.

Accordingly, the police disclosed that swap was taken by investigators and is yet to establish the cause of death.

At least two persons are currently undergoing investigation and were released to their lawyers.

Rev. Giddings has since been declared a person of interest by the police although he has not been officially charged.

There were seven persons undergoing investigation including Rev. Giddings, and a man identified as Abraham, who reportedly helped to put the decease in a vehicle to be taken to hospital.

The exact date for the autopsy is unknown but Police disclosed that they have asked the Ministry of Justice to contact a pathologist to conduct the autopsy.

The death certificate seen by FrontPageAfrica mentioned bleeding from the ear, which according to the certificate suggests that she either died as a result of sexual abuse or from falling, something the Police said is confusing and might only be established by pathologists who will determine the main cause of death.

Rev. Giddings, at a press conference on Monday in Duazon, showed the interior of his home including where the deceased body was found prior to taking her to the hospital.

On Sunday, several youths of the community protested at the front gate and church of Rev. Giddings, demanding that he be arrested and investigated.

But Giddings, now a Person of Interest, according to the Police, said he is “not bothered by the sentiments on social media and community residents”.

“I heard side comments on social media and I don’t want to comment on that, because people take rumors and not facts,” he said.

He wonders why the community will pass judgment when the police have not released its investigation report, adding that “these accounts are sentimental”.

On Monday, he appeared on the local talk with a friend of the deceased rather than his daughter, as many callers asked why he did not bring his daughter but rather a friend who was not on the scene.

But he said the show was arranged by his brother it was the station who asked for two persons excluding him.

“The girl I took the station is not a friend to the deceased, she was one of the girls who slept in the room,” he said.

He disclosed that the report has tinted his institutions and harm his integrity, adding that his hope is in the autopsy report.

“I support an autopsy, I think that the lack of information in the public and speculations is harming me and my institution, the quicker and sooner the examination the better for the public,” Rev. Giddings.

“Allegation is allegations, perception is perception, innuendos are innuendos, facts are facts and I am telling you the fact.”

However, he disclosed that he has been asked to leave the bailiwick of Liberia but has said: “As far as I am concern, I have don’t anything wrong to travel.”

He recalled that about a month ago, one of his daughters – a 12 grader – asked him to permit her to hold a study camp with her classmates in his home for the WASSACE exams. 

As hesitant as he was to accept, she persisted and successfully convinced him that they would stay in the guest room of his building that is under-construction – located at the back of his current home. 

“So, I went and bought them three mattresses… And that was the part I played in getting the children together [for the camp],” Rev Giddings explains.

“The only other encounters I had with them when they came to me and complained about hunger – and then I’ll give them money to buy food.”

The girls continued with their exam’s activities until May 21, when the dreadful incident occurred. “It was on the morning of May 20th as I was getting ready to go to work, my daughter came to me and made an additional request,” he recalls.  

“She told me that they were finishing their WASSCE on that morning and that I should please give her permission for her and her friends to go out together. 

“Initially, I discouraged the idea and told her that it was not necessary [and that] they should wait and see the result and upon graduation then we can celebrate.”

But his daughter again convinced him that her colleagues’ parents had given permission and that they had already saved some money for their entertainment.   

He delayed his permission but would later agree.

“I discouraged it again but she pleaded so passionately that her friends were all excited to be together that evening… so I told her that ‘I will give you three hours – if you leave at 8 o’clock be back at 11’.”

After his daughter went out with her friends, he went to his pool room to play, a recreation he does most evening. He was later joined by a couple of friends, he said.

After several games, his friends left so he opted to take a shower before bed. But realizing that it was after midnight and the girls were not back from, he was upset and made several calls to them.

While he was on the phone, his son then informed him that “one of his daughter’s friends” was bleeding and lying in the unfinished house. 

“I thought it was epilepsy or something – [because] when a person has a seizure they can fall down,” he said of his instant reaction to the incident.

According to him, the girl was lying under the stairs with blood oozing from around her head.

“I got so upset immediately, I couldn’t lift her up because of the condition of my arm –[so] I told Abraham [to] go and call the neighbors,” he said.

In a couple of minutes, the yard was filled with neighbors, he said. And the girl, apparently unconscious, was put on his car and taken to the ELWA hospital, where was later pronounced dead by doctors.

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