Tribute to Odell Sherman

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FACIA: The actual circumstances around your death are yet known to God and Him alone. Somedays, we take solace in the Word “the secret things are known to God, and he reveals to whom He wants to”. 

What happened to you Odell Sherman?

This question remains the million dollar question that even an autopsy report could not clearly answer.


By Facia Harris, [email protected]


Even the Police investigation left us with questions. A question your parents, friends, advocates, and activists are still searching for answer to. 

The actual circumstances around your death are yet known to God and Him alone. Somedays, we take solace in the Word “the secret things are known to God, and he reveals to whom He wants to”. 

I am not sure whether or not it fits this context, but as I pen these words in honor of your memory, a year later, today, I am not consoled! We have not found peace! We have not found closure!

Odell, you were promising, you lived a normal life despite your struggle and challenges as a young woman. You were passionate about education and desirous about achieving higher education and a solid career. Suddenly, your lights were switched off a day after you completed what could be termed as one of the first steps. Your life story resonates with many girls. The inequalities in our society and the manner in which some privileged individuals prey on those conditions to manipulate and abuse others. 

Following up on your case in 2019, we heard many statements from people in positions of power who are supposed to be neutral, relying on nothing but their expertise, conscience and moral duty to help uncover the cause of your mysterious death and those responsible, if any.

But what did they say in different corners and to our faces “let talk so talk so, that girl was not small girl, she had boyfriends, and her family knew about it, she even had a child before”.

This statement dampened my countenance and crashed my spirit for many days. 

I don’t understand how their framing of those thoughts justified your death, Odell. I then realized that like many other victims with similar stories like that, you were being judged already and found guilty for your own death!

Why if any one, the culprit/s were never of a much concern and or person of interest to be found or sought after. We saw the handling of the autopsy and the reports: 

 “there are no visible injuries of the external genitalia, vagina, or rectum. Nonetheless a post-mortem sexual assault examination was performed with evidence collection. All the injuries are consistent with a descent from the upper level platform in a single event impacting the broad surface of the tile floor. For these reasons the Cause of Death is best classified as Blunt Force Trauma of the Head due to Descent from Height.

Odell, you were promising, you lived a normal life despite your struggle and challenges as a young woman. You were passionate about education and desirous about achieving higher education and a solid career. Suddenly, your lights were switched off a day after you completed what could be termed as one of the first steps. Your life story resonates with many girls. The inequalities in our society and the manner in which some privileged individuals prey on those conditions to manipulate and abuse others. 

Note: The circumstances that led to her descent from the upper level platform is unknown and requires further investigation.”

– *Excerpts from Autopsy of Odell Sherman as reported by FrontPageAfrica*

This report was followed by the ‘4G’ closure of the Police investigation into your case.

That news created shock in my spines. Why? I haven’t found a convincing answer.

So many thoughts and analysis have come to mind based on my interaction with different stakeholders that work on the case or were connected to the case based on their line of work. 

After your funeral, I cried again and again….I cried the more on a fateful day, when the one person in a position of power, and by virtue of the said position should be more concern about the mysterious circumstances connected to your death, literally celebrated that the police closed the investigation into your death, when in-fact there are more questions left unanswered, and a dedicated and professional investigation could have connected the dots. For her or them, it was a political win. The lousy few can now shut up, I bet was the reason behind the celebration.

Odell, there is no closure. But Rest in Peace. We will always tell your story. And, how the system failed you. Oh, yes, it did, except your fall was purely accidental, and even if it was, someone should have taken responsibility. 

I don’t know whether we fought enough, but we did fight, we risked so many things in the pursuit of justice, but we didn’t see the light at the end of that tunnel. But we will never be on the side of the oppressor/s.

One year later today, on this Thursday In Black, we pay tribute to you and all the girls and women who died and yet to get justice.

And towards a world without rape and violence. 

Odell, Rest In Peace! Rest In Power!

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