Ringing in my ears since last week were cries of: “Bring back our girls …Not their skeletons.” I am definite that that was the silent cry of parents and other relatives whose promising teenage daughters had gone missing, purportedly kidnapped in Takoradi at different stages last year.
The tragedy of the missing Takoradi girls and the recently discovered skeletal remains have been one of the most trending tragedies of our times. The pain has lingered on in the hearts of their loved ones for far too long, compounded by conflicting claims of their whereabouts.
Last week, out of the blue, some breaking news was splashed on us about the retrieval of skeletal remains believed to be that of the three girls, thus momentarily shattering any hopes of finding them alive. According to news reports, the skeletons were discovered from a cesspit behind the rented uncompleted apartment of the prime suspect who has been in police custody for nearly eight months. The question is why did it have to take this long for any such search to be done?
Compared to how fast and thorough investigators act in other jurisdiction, leaving no stones unturned in missing person’s cases, the late discovery of the remains in the case of the missing girls is quite worrying. For example, according to BBC news reports, earlier this week in the United Kingdom, a teenager who lives at home with his parents was discovered missing from her room the following morning. The parents made a report to the local police and the area around the home was immediately cordoned off and investigators were brought in to search the bushes around for clues while at the same time talking to her friends and relations for any clues.
It is a common scene elsewhere that in reported cases of missing persons, investigators do not rule out murder. They would, therefore, comb an entire area thoroughly with sniffer dogs to find traces, if any. Did we imagine anything of the sort in the case of the missing three? We know the police had a prime suspect in custody. We knew this suspect had admitted to kidnapping the girls. However, it seems like he succeeded in hoodwinking everyone into believing that the girls were still alive.
It beats me that if indeed they were alive, then why could investigators not get him to take them to where they were? Some of us even heard one of the parents, in the early stages, claim that the suspect called them in the initial stages that their daughter was alive and well but he was not going to allow him to talk with her or engage in any ransom demand.
Is it not obvious then that this suspect knew what he had done with the girls but tried in crafty ways to cover his back by tricking all into believing that the teenagers were alive? And for months, going into one year, he has succeeded in creating disaffection for the authorities who were communicating with relatives and the general public, seeing the public interest in the kidnapping cases.
Elsewhere, from the minute he admitted to the kidnapping, all other options of finding the girls, dead or alive would have been taken into consideration by investigators and not just play by his word. One such consideration would have been to search his home and the surrounding areas for other possible clues especially when he broke jail after his first arrest, maybe to go and finish and unfinished agenda.
Unfortunately, we waited for nearly a year for a tip-off before a search with sniffer dogs could be dispatched to his rented apartment and its surroundings.
We are told that even though the suspect was made to watch the entire process of emptying the cesspit and the discovery of floating body parts, he continued to deny any involvement in the murder of the girls. But is it any surprising? Who would ever have thought the kidnapper would have admitted to murder?
The suspect has had his way and for far too long. He has succeeded in keeping everybody, especially the agonised relatives of the kidnapped girls, in the dark. He has played a game of roller coaster with investigators and kept the entire nation in suspense, seeing the public interest in the case. The agonies he has inflicted on many people are just too much.
Relatives are waiting for their girls to return safe and not their skeletons packed in boxes. How do we get the suspect to open up so the entire nation could put matters to rest? The prolonged agonies of hurting families must end, for the better or for worse. Twenty-eight-year-old suspect, Samuel Odeoutuk Wills, must not continue to have his way any longer.