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General News of Saturday, 3 August 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Families of Takoradi missing girls call for independent DNA test

The families of the three missing Takoradi girls have called for an independent DNA test following the retrieval of some skeletons from a septic tank behind the house of the prime suspect, Samuel Odeoutuk Willis.
The remains are believed to be that of the three girls who went missing between August and December 2018.

The spokesperson for the families, Mr Michael Hayford Acquah, said the news had thrown the Sekondi-Takoradi municipality, especially Kansaworodo, into a state of shock.

However, the families are yet to come to terms with this latest development and that they had been invited to the Police Headquarters in Accra to meet with the police hierarchy for briefing.

“Until forensic and DNA investigations establish that the body parts found to be that of theirs, all we know is that our loved ones are still alive.”

Mr Acquah said if the police were convinced what they had found was a good lead to unravelling the mysteries surrounding the missing girls, the DNA and forensic investigations should be conducted in independent laboratories and not that of the police.

A team of investigators from the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service found the remains when they went on the operation yesterday evening and found some skeletons of three persons from a septic tank in a house in Kansaworodo, a superb of Takoradi, believed to belong to the missing girls.

Police sources close to the investigations told the Daily Graphic that upon a tip-off, a special team of investigators, together with the Western Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Mr Vincent Redeemer Dedjoe, visited Kansaworodo, in the company of the man suspected to be involved in the kidnapping of the girls in the Western Region, Samuel Udoetuk Wills, and some sniffer dogs.

The source said the 28-year-old suspect led the team to a single-room apartment he had rented in a house in Kansaworodo. Once they reached the house, the sniffer dogs directed the investigators towards a septic tank.

The behaviour of the trained dogs convinced the investigators that there was a credible lead to follow.

According to the source, the team opened the tank which was full to the brim.



A cesspit emptier was deployed to draw the waste and about halfway through, they found some skulls floating in the tank and eventually the other body parts were also retrieved, put in boxes and have been brought to Accra for forensic test.

The suspect was made to watch the entire exercise at close range, but still denied any involvement in the murder of the girls, the source said.

The source further said the body parts would be sent to the Police Forensic Laboratory in Accra for DNA tests to determine which body parts belonged where and whether they indeed are those of the missing girls.

Our sources said the police investigators finished their work discreetly and left the scene well in time before the news of the discovery went round the community.

CID’s statement

The CID has confirmed the operation at Kansaworodo at an uncompleted building previously occupied by convict Samuel Odeoutuk Willis.

The police in a statement signed by the Head, Public Affairs Unit of the CID, Deputy Superintendent of Police Juliana Obeng, said “The discovered human remains would be sent to the forensic science laboratory of the Ghana Police Service for analysis and further investigation.”

Kidnappings

Priscilla Blessing Bentum, 21, a third-year student of the University of Education, Winneba, was abducted at Kansawurodo on August 17, 2018.

Another victim, Ruth Love Quayson, 18, a senior high school (SHS) graduate, was kidnapped at the Butumegyabu Junction on December 4, 2018, while Priscilla Mantebea Koranchie, 15, a student of Sekondi College (SEKCO), was kidnapped near the Nkroful Junction in Takoradi on December 21, 2018.



Background

Following the series of kidnapping incidents involving teenage girls in the Takoradi metropolis, Wills was arrested at Kansawurodo, a suburb of Sekondi/Takoradi, on December 22, 2018 on suspicion of being part of a kidnapping syndicate.

He was charged with kidnapping and remanded in police custody by the Takoradi Circuit Court on December 24, 2018 to reappear before the court on January 29, this year for the commencement of his trial.

But on December 30, 2018, he escaped from police cells through the ventilation windows of the cell after using a hacksaw blade to cut the iron rods used to secure the windows.

As a result of Wills’s escape, seven policemen from the Takoradi Metropolitan Police Command under whose watch the suspected kidnapper escaped were interdicted and given the standard police 10-day ultimatum to rearrest the suspect or face disciplinary action.

On January 3, 2019, the police rearrested him in an uncompleted building at Kansawurodo.