Liberia: Member of Vice President’s Security Detail ‘Commits Suicide’


Monrovia – It was quite shocking to the family of Bobby N. Calphen, an Executive Protection  Service(EPS) assigned to the detail of Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, hanging in suspension in his room.

Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo, [email protected]

Police Investigators say there is no foul play and it is strictly a case of suicide, but some relatives of the deceased believe there is some foul play.

The wife of the deceased, Madam Kebeh Calphen told FrontPage Africa in an exclusive interview that she came from the market and met her husband hanged on a belt to the wall in an unfinished building.

The unfinished building is said to be the second house the deceased and his wife were constructing prior to his death.

Madam Calphen narrated, “That morning Saturday, 2 June, he got up and told me to fix tea and bread so I did and he ate, later he asks me if I wasn’t going Red-light and I told him it will be later.”

“Because I was still tying mayonnaise, condense milk for the shop, so when I got through I went in the big house and saw our daughter she told me that her father went across the road to his friends and that is one place he goes when he is not working.”

She said she went to the house to inform her husband that she was on her way to the market to get goods for their provision shop but couldn’t see him but left a message with their daughter.

“I went to tell him that I was going Red-light and I saw his alcohol, medicine, and tower on the table. So I told her to tell him that I was going red-light, and she told me that her dad had asked her to go the market and I told her maybe he wants to eat from you today because somebody is here to cook.”

Madam Calphen said when she returned from the market while packing her things in the shop, she heard loud shouts from the unfinished building, thinking that it was an electrical fault not knowing it was her husband.

She explains: “I took the scissors to cut the tape from around the cartoon and then I heard the shouting and I was afraid thinking it was current because sometimes they can put the other television on in the other house especially our last daughter Gabrieline.

“So when I heard loud shouting I told them to go in and check, that’s how the neighbors came and I saw the other boy shaking his head, and our last baby said it’s not current that’s papa.”

She continued, “When I ran in I was blocked by some of the neighbors so I managed and entered, and the little girl kept showing her finger to the rope to his neck shouting papa and his back was turned and his face was in the wall.”

Madam Calphen said she asked the neighbors to put him down and call doctor thinking that he was still alive.

“So all I thought nothing  had happened to him, I decided to allow them to take the belt from his neck, it didn’t take one hour and I saw security guards coming in the yard and they asked me out of the room.”

“So I told them to call a doctor but they put us outside with the family asking us not to entered, so the police came and took him to JFK.”

“I was not here and if I tell you how it happened I lie because I wasn’t here if you ask everybody they will tell you that I went to market.”

When asked why the body was found in a separate room from where she sleeps, Madam Calphen said her husband usually lie down in the living room.

“When we have huge customers because we sell alcohol and soft drinks and provisions, but when this place is crowded, he doesn’t sit among the buyers, he goes to the room in that building and rests himself.”

She said this year will sum up to twenty- eight years since their dowry payment.

Additionally, she said officers told her that a paper was taken from the deceased pocket naming people he owes which sum up to over US$400.00.

He named Mark and EPS officer – USD $275, Joshua a money exchanger on the Old Road USD $70.00, and Moore Albert US$56.00. The last person identified as Eve an EPS officer, whom no amount was attached to her name on the list.

She said it is unbelievable that her husband will commit such act knowingly that her husband did not tell her that he was been harass to pay the debt.

She revealed that the deceased salary passed the debt owe, “Is this money important than the years we stayed together, he didn’t think about the children, I still don’t believe he died as a result of this list they say he left.”

She revealed that the husband had an accident on the Monday before his death on Saturday and was complaining of pains in his legs.

“So he went to the hospital and brought medicine and he told me that he was diagnosed with malaria, Pressure, and Typhoid and I attributed it to the accident.

“Monday he had the accident and Wednesday he went to the hospital because Tuesday, our daughter went for the medical slip and Saturday he died.”

Madam Calphen is a mother of seven children currently of which four are high school graduates and three are still in high school.

“I met him with two and we have five so its seven children, we have 24 years, 22, 18, 11 and 8, that’s not small children and it’s like a burden now on my one.”

“Plenty people were there so I don’t know if the doctors came later, I live here and I hardly entered my own house.”

She said though officials from his office came to the family but said Vice President Taylor has not come to sympathize with the family.

Madam Calphen narrated, “His office came here and when I was carrying the body I called them to inform them that the body was taken to the Alfred Butler funeral home, but his boss lady has not come here.”

The spokesperson of the VP Taylor, Solomon Ware consented to the statement adding that an initial visit was made to the family by the chief of office staff George Nimely.

“Yes, the Vice President has not visited the family, but the Director of EPS went there but there are plans for her to visit the family, it is a criminal investigation and police are investigating.”

A neighbor of the deceased, Elder J. Anthony Smith, a resident of A.B Tolbert Road said Calphen has lived in the area since 1992.

“I knew him when they started constructing 2-3 years ago, and they asked me for water to help with their construction and I did, he was an easy person, he always swept his yard.

“When the incident occurred, I didn’t enter the room but my wife did and I saw the picture on someone’s phone.”

He noted, “His daughter calls me daddy and I feel the pains and for him to hang himself in that manners still made me thinking why he will commit suicide.”

Ma- Alice, an older sister to the deceased broke in tears remembering the struggles they went through at younger age.

“He was a quiet man, he was easy going, he wasn’t someone who fights, he was my little brother and we lived together in Gbarnga by that time he was in his late 20’s when we sold through the streets.”

“I feel hurt I am confused and he and we understood one another, he even used to take me to JFK when am ill.”

“God will intervene and if God says that and how he should die, fine, who did it I don’t know whether that his self or it’s spiritual, I leave it with God, my God has the final saying.”

Police sources told FPA that the deceased death could have because of the medical diagnosis he received at the hospital.

The source said apart from the list, two phones were taken from his pocket but were switched off, adding that US$200 and over LRD$2,000 were found in his pocket.

Documents in the possession of FPA show that the body has been turned over to the family after spending over four days at JFK morgue.

The body was turned over on grounds that there is no foul play in the death of the EPS officer clearing his wife.

Sources at JFK also told FPA that he died on arrival but the hospital had to keep the corpse in the morgue following a request from the Liberia National Police.