Liberia: “An Old Rich Man Wants to Marry Me” – 21-Year-Old Deceased Reportedly Told Guardian Before Being Found Unconscious

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DUAZON, Margibi – A week before Odell Sherman, 21, was found “unconscious” in the home of Rev. Emmanuel Giddings, she returned home with plastic full of food items and a football and said “a rich old man wants to marry me”, says the deceased guardian, Veronica Kollie. 

Veronica told FrontPageAfrica that she asked her about the source of the food items that she had brought home. The deceased told her that it was the “rich man” who gave them. According to her, this “rich man” even told her that she had low blood.

The items included a card of egg, a middle size tin of milk, jars of Ovaltine, mayonnaise, margarine, chocolate drink, sardine, spaghetti, cornflakes, Vimto, and cereals, etc.

Veronica has been the guardian of the deceased since she was 16. She should have turned 22 on November 14, 2019.

Veronica recalls that when Odell made the statement, she (Vero) saw it as a joke but it was again re-echoed by a neighbor, who had been on the scene when the late had made the statement.

I told her, “I don’t have an old man then I will allow you marry an old man?” but she said the deceased responded, “What if the man comes and changes the zinc round ( shack) we are in, you wouldn’t accept him?” 

Veronica recalled that she only looked at the deceased and told her to bring the old man, but the deceased said the man will come at the time they both planned.

Until her death, her guardian said she had no clue of the man’s identity and cannot point a finger at anyone.

On the last day of the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) on May 20, 2019, the deceased returned joyfully on a motorbike celebrating, screaming and singing “Aunty it is finished; I told you I will complete high school!” 

Odell gave her aunt four packs of artificial hair to braid her hair, and the following day, she packed her clothes and left on the same bike which allegedly took her directly to Rev. Giddings’ home. 

She later left with her friends to go to a local pub in Duazon, which is a couple of yards away from the Giddings’ residence.

On May 21, approximately 3 a.m., the guardian said she heard the knock on her door and when she opened it, she saw one of Odell’s instructors, who had been sent by Odell’s class sponsor to find her (Vero).

Veronica said the instructor told her that her daughter was at the ELWA Hospital and needed an operation immediately.

“I asked what kind of operation because when Odell left from here, nothing was wrong with her, so you telling me that she needs an operation and someone has to sign, and I said I want to talk with the sponsor. 

“When I called the sponsor, he demanded that I go at ELWA right away and he cut the phone off.

“Less than five minutes, the sponsor called the instructor identified as Henry and told him as I speak to you Odell died ever since but don’t tell the family, but the phone was on speaker.”

At that moment, she began to scream and neighbors came around to inquire.

Veronica said she and the instructor went to the hospital on a bike and couldn’t enter the hospital’s fence because they were not recognized by the security.

She said at 5 AM, they were told by the hospital that the Police had taken over the case.

Upon their arrival at the police headquarters, she saw Rev. Giddings’ son giving his accounts of the incident to the police.

“He said his sister told him to go and open the waterline and, on his way, going, he saw Odell lying in the living room of the unfinished house with blood shooting from Odell’s ears and nose,” she quotes Giddings’ son as saying.

She further quoted the boy: “I held her hands she couldn’t shake and called her name but she couldn’t talk so I ran back upstairs and told the worker that you lying down here and Odell is lying down like someone who is dead? 

“Then the worker said you are the one waking me up and telling me that Odell is dead or something happened to her, I should be asking you, who brought her in,” and an argument ensued.

“I ran back to my sister and told her that Odell was lying down bleeding and my sister said I should tell our father.

“Our father told us to help him put the body in the vehicle and take her to the ELWA hospital,” the son reportedly added.

According to Veronica, they stayed at the Police headquarters up till 5 PM and couldn’t get any information relating to the incident. So they left.

“I told her father that since the police are not telling us anything, let’s pass to where it happened. We passed at the house and asked the security.”

The security hesitated at first in explaining to them because he said: “It’s a human business.” 

According to Veronica, the security said the deceased came and knocked on the gate around 1 AM and when he asked “Who it was”, she introduced herself as one of the girls who had earlier changed their clothes to leave for the party along with Cynthia – Rev. Giddings’ daughter. The security man said he allowed her into the compound.

The security told the family that after Odell had already entered the compound just about the same time, he saw Rev. Giddings’ son standing and communicating on the phone outside the compound.

The security said he asked who it was and the son called his name but the security questioned why he was out making calls at that time of the night.

“According to the old man that’s how he [Rev Giddings’ son] came inside and took the same direction that Odell took without answering the papay whom he was talking to,” said Veronica.

The security said Rev. Giddings came out and wanted water and there was none but he told his daughter to called her brother.

According to the security, the Rev. and his daughter were in search of his son and when they (Rev. and daughter) went to the unfinished house to where Odell had reportedly gone, they saw him (Rev.’s son) coming from there.

Veronica said the guard man said the Rev’s son did not respond to his father’s inquiry. So, he left and went back to his post at the gate.

“The security said five minutes later, the girl (Giddings’ daughter) came back running towards him and telling him that Odell who had just entered the house is bleeding and helpless and that he (the security) should go and help them put her in the car to take her to the ELWA hospital,” Veronica explained to FrontPageAfrica what the security man had told her.

She recalled that Odell went camping for four days with a friend without her knowledge. But she returned later saying that her school’s principal had asked them not to stay on the camp for the remaining days of the exam.

Veronica could not say if Odell regularly visited the home of Rev. Giddings.

With the Police announcing an autopsy but without a specific date, the family says they are worried over the prolonged delays.

It is now 11 days since the incident occurred and the family has increased their call for a speedy investigation to establish the cause of death.

The family is linking the death of their daughter to the owner of the house – Rev. Giddings.

“We need justice, the man should be in custody by now but I don’t know if it’s because he has money that’s why none of his children is in police custody. They are all free so what I need from the government is justice,” Odell’s guardian said.

Veronica added; “My child’s body cannot be found in your house then you are going on the radio saying your family is innocent and that you just came in as a good neighbor, so you took her to the hospital. You should have first called the police since you took her to the hospital.”

At the same time, the family has expressed concerns over the use of the deceased dead photo on social media, adding that the pictures are causing trauma to the family.

“I am so worried over the millions of posts on social media with my daughter’s dead picture. Every time I see it, I feel so bad. All I want them to do is used her living picture not her dead body picture,” Veronica pleaded.

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

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

He wonders why the community will pass judgment when the police have not released its investigative report; adding, “These accounts are sentimental.”

On Monday, May 27, Giddings appeared on a local talk show with a friend of the deceased rather than his daughter. This prompted most of the callers to ask 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.

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