The
police have formally informed the families of the three missing girls
from Takoradi about their latest finding with regard to the
investigations they are conducting into the whereabouts of the girls.

Although
the police did not confirm that the bodies they had retrieved through
an operation at Kasparov last Friday were those of the missing girls,
they said it was important to keep the families posted on the latest
updates and reassure them that every effort was being put in to find the
missing girls.

Last Saturday, the Western Regional Police Command, led by Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Mr Redeemer Vincent Dedjoe, on behalf of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Police Administration, visited and engaged the families, barely a day after the operation undertaken by a special investigative team from Accra.

“I
must say that what we have seen was within the residence of the convict
and suspect, Samuel Udoetuk-Willis, and these are human remains, mainly
bones and skulls in a cesspit and we have taken custody of them to help
our investigations,” he said.

The
regional commander, however, was also emphatic in telling the families
that “breaking the news to you does not mean we are here to say that
those are the remains of our beloved children”.

He
also apologised that, instead of the families being the first to know
of the latest development, the speed of social and traditional media
took over and made it public before the police could reach out to the
families.

“The
operation was completed quite late in the night and hierarchy had to be
briefed first before telling anyone else,” Mr Dedjoe explained.

“We will subject
the exhibits to stern examination to establish that those are the
children or otherwise and we will need the families to help in that
regard as we work towards finding the solution,” he said.

Emotions

The hours of
meetings with the families in their respective homes were filled with
emotions, as intermittently a family member broke down in tears, unable
to control himself or herself on hearing the news.

At the Bentums
family house, the strong emotions displayed almost sent the police team
into tears, as the mother of Priscilla Blessing Bentum, one of the
missing girls, could not contain herself and burst into tears, saying:
“No! No! No! What you have found could not be my child. She is alive!”

All the three
families received the news with disbelief, as they expressed the hope
that their children could still be found alive and remained hopeful that
on the next police visit, they would hear the news that the children
had been found alive.

Follow further leads & DNA

The families
said finding the remains of persons whose identity were yet to be
established should not prevent the police from following further leads,
with the hope of finding the children alive.

They expressed
their readiness to help the police in their investigations and also
provide that self-replicating material with fundamental and distinctive
characteristics or qualities of a member of the family for the
deoxyribonucleic acid process, known as the DNA test.

‘My daughter is alive’

Ruth Love
Quayson’s mother, Madam Comfort Arhin, said she would not take what the
police were saying seriously because as far as she was concerned, her
daughter was still alive.

“In December
last year, we spoke to my daughter when the kidnappers contacted us and
she even spoke to the pastor of our church,” she explained.

“When we handed
the phone to the pastor, my daughter said: ‘Sofo’, and today you want to
tell me that my daughter is no more? I won’t take that and they should
stop saying things like that,” she said in tears.

An uncle of
Ruth’s, Mr Amos Kojo Obeng Tawia, said the family still thought that the
police could do better and come up with different results and not what
they had come up with now.

Family of the Kidnapped house

‘The suspect is dangerous’

“I must say that
since the suspect is a dangerous character, the remains found in the
cesspit could be those of his other victims whose disappearance is yet
to be reported. But as far as we are concerned, the children are alive
and they must be found,” he said.

Some members
within the communities where the missing girls lived who spoke to the
Daily Graphic said they found it difficult to believe what the police
had came up with and expressed the hope that the latest update from the
police was not a ploy to abandon the search.

Others were of
the opinion that since the forensic test would confirm the identities of
the remains discovered, the police and an independent team should carry
out that exercise as soon as possible for the families to establish the
truth.

kidnappers house

REGSEC appeals for calm

In a related
development, the Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko
Mensah, has appealed for calm after the police operation and the
retrieval of human parts/remains from the backyard of an uncompleted
building at Kasparov last Friday.

In a statement,
Mr Darko-Mensah, who is also the Chairman of the Western Regional
Security Council (REGSEC), commended the police for not relenting in
their investigations to unravel the mysterious disappearance of the
three girls and urged them to do all they could to help resolve the
mystery.

“Above all, the
parents, relatives and the public in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis
especially are entreated to remain calm and await the outcome of the
forensic investigations to be conducted on the found human parts, which
must be expedited.

“The
co-operation of all with the security agencies, which could lead to the
unravelling of the matter, as well as locate the whereabouts of the
kidnapped girls, is being highly solicited,” the statement stressed.

Background

Priscilla
Blessing Bentum, 21, a third-year student of the University of
Education, Winneba, was abducted at Kansaworodo on August 17, 2018; Ruth
Love Quayson, 18, a senior high school 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.

Following the
series of kidnapping of teenage girls in the Takoradi metropolis, Willis
was arrested at Kasparov, 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.

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.

The police rearrested him on January 3, 2019 in an uncompleted building at Kasparov, close to the place where the human remains were discovered last Friday.

Source: Graphic.com.gh