Grand Gedeh County – An angry crowd stormed the residence of businessman Mark Dargan in Bartel Jam Gold Mining Camp, Cavalla Administrative District, Electoral District 3, Grand Gedeh County, when blood-stained clothes belonging to the deceased ten-year-old girl, Gracious Yormee, were discovered, and her lifeless body was found in an old mining pit.
According to Alex Yonly, the HeforShe County coordinator, the deceased mysteriously disappeared on August 9, 2023, and her body was later discovered in a mining pit on August 11, 2023, near the camp.
The suspect, Mark Dargan, was apprehended by the Liberia National Police and incarcerated at the Police Station in Zwedru on August 11, 2023. He is currently under investigation for his alleged involvement in the murder. Mark Dargan has been charged with murder, as documented in the detention book.
Coordinator Yonly further reported that a 15-member coronal jury was swiftly assembled from the community by the Liberia National Police Criminal Service Division (CSD). The jury’s investigation revealed signs of foul play, including sodomy, a broken neck, and the extraction of private parts.
However, the jury stated that the suspect vehemently denied all accusations related to the death of the victim. The jury recommended that the deceased’s body be preserved as evidence for future court proceedings. They also emphasized that the responsibility of body preservation should fall upon the government, not the bereaved family.
Ironically, the police handed over the lifeless body to the grieving family for burial on August 11, 2023. Yet, the deceased’s father, Mr. Fred Moses, and his wife, Baby Girl Yormee, declined to bury their daughter. Instead, they transported her body to the Zwedru police station to demand justice for their child’s tragic demise.
In an interview, Fred Moses, the father of the deceased, recounted that on the morning of his child’s disappearance, he had sent her mother to purchase charcoal. At around 10 a.m., the girl requested permission to relieve herself behind their house before buying the charcoal. Tragically, she vanished during this interval, and her body was later discovered submerged in an old pit.
Moses continued to share that they reported the disappearance to the camp master, who organized a search party, of which the accused was a leader. Despite extensive searches throughout the camp and surrounding areas, neither the missing child nor any evidence was found.
“When we uncovered my daughter’s unclothed body in the old pit after three days of searching, we concluded that her murderer had hidden her clothes. Thus, we decided to follow the footprints. The tracks led us directly to the accused’s residence. Upon our arrival, he locked his door and refused us entry, claiming that we had already searched his house. In response, the enraged crowd forced open the door, and the accused managed to flee. Subsequent investigation inside the house revealed the child’s clothing alongside the accused’s attire, both smeared with blood. The blood-stained garments, including beddings and mosquito nets, were saturated with blood,” stated Fred Moses, the grieving father.
According to Moses, their primary goal is to obtain justice and arrange for an autopsy to ascertain the exact cause of their daughter’s untimely demise. However, Zewdru City solicitor Atty. Jerome Tarpeh informed them that the government lacked the necessary funds for embalming. With the assistance of the INCHR and Ministry of Gender, the bereaved family successfully deposited the body at AB Davies Funeral Home in Zwedru.
While Police CSD Commander Victor Zean could not be reached for comment, Zwedru City Solicitor Atty. Jerome Tarpeh confirmed informing the family that the government’s budget did not include provisions for preserving the body for an autopsy.
“The government expresses condolences for the child’s tragic death, and a thorough investigation will be conducted. Nonetheless, retaining the body is not advisable, as we have already gathered substantial evidence and photographic documentation. Keeping the body would be unnecessary. However, in cases where the cause of death is unknown, the government could facilitate body preservation for an autopsy to determine the cause. We are committed to a comprehensive investigation that encompasses all individuals associated with this incident,” reassured Tarpeh.
Tamba F. J. Johnson, the HeForShe Crusaders Liberia National Coordinator, vehemently condemned the alleged murder of young Gracious Yormee. He urged that her case not be treated as just another statistic, but rather, a demand for justice in the face of such a horrifying act.
“We urgently call upon the Liberian government to diligently pursue justice through the legal system. The memory of little Gracious Yormee demands the full attention of the justice system. She was a Liberian, entitled to her right to life, which was tragically cut short in an utterly unacceptable manner.”
Johnson referenced Article 3, Section 3 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which stipulates that State parties are obligated to ensure that institutions, services, and facilities responsible for the care and protection of children adhere to established standards, particularly in matters related to safety and health.
“While her physical existence may have ended, her right to justice, facilitated by the Ministry of Justice, remains unwavering. Justice must prevail now, and justice must be granted for Gracious,” concluded Johnson.
Source: Frontpage Africa