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Greaves-GOL abandons 2nd autopsy plan

Amidst a confused scenario following the Government of Liberia’s abrupt decision not to conduct a second autopsy on the body of the late Harry Augustus Greaves as earlier announced, family members have set funeral for the deceased for Thursday, March 10 in Monrovia.

In a hurriedly arranged three paragraphs press statement read Monday to the press by the widow of the late Harry Greaves, Madam Precious Andrews Greaves at her residence in Airfield Sinkor, Monrovia the family acknowledged receipt of the body from the Government: Today, we would like to announce that our family has received the remains of our beloved husband, son, father, brother, uncle and friend, Harry Augustus Greaves, Jr.

In a rather tense atmosphere prior to the release of the press statement, a male member of the family identified as a brother to the late Harry Greaves, told reporters they would not take questions from the press.
Mrs. Greaves however expressed gratitude for the many voices or reactions from the society on her husband’s death, especially the media, which she observed, expressed concern. “These voices have helped to console us during this difficult period”, she added.

Meanwhile, the family has further announced the remains of Mr. Greaves will be removed from the St. Moses Funeral Home in Gardnersville on Wednesday, March 9th and taken to the St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Camp Johnson Road in Monrovia where wake-keeping will be held beginning at 6 p.m. the same day to be followed by funeral on Thursday, March 10th for subsequent burial.

The statement did not however say where the body of Mr. Greaves will be interred after the funeral. The body of Mr. Harry A. Greaves, former managing director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company was discovered on Sunday, January 31, 2016 behind the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia after he reportedly went missing two days earlier at the RLJ Hotel in Kendeja along the Robertsfield highway where he had gone accompanied by his driver.

he Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Republic of Liberia, Cllr. Benedict Sannoh, described the death of Mr. Greaves as suspicious, and immediately announced at a press conference the government was sending for a pathologist from Nigeria to conduct an autopsy on the body to establish the cause of death.

But upon arrival in the country from attending an African Union summit in Ethiopia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf instead, directed that rather than Nigeria, a pathologist should be hired either from the United Kingdom or the United States of America to carry out an autopsy to establish cause of death.

Accordingly, a team of pathologists from the Nebraska Institute of Forensic Science headed by Dr. Thomas Bennett and Dr. Matthias Okoye was brought in by the government, which performed an autopsy on Mr. Greaves’ body and attributed the cause of death to “Asphyxiation by salt water drowning.”

But these preliminary findings were received by the public with disbelief and high suspicions, prompting the authorities to have announced a second autopsy, particularly after a leaked report on examinations conducted on the body by doctors at the John F. Kennedy surfaced in the press. 

“No medical doctor at the Medical Center is licensed to conduct forensic examinations to establish a cause of death. The report did not establish a cause of death. However, medical opinions received thus far indicate that the JFK report is consistent with the forensic examination report, and that there is no contradiction or inconsistency”, Minister Sannoh argued subsequently.

In a big turnaround from the planned second autopsy, Minister Sannoh thru a letter dated March 6, 2016 addressed to Mrs. Precious Andrews Greaves, announced that government was turning her late husband’s body over to the family as there was no need for a second autopsy because the family had already embalmed the body.

“By this communication, I hereby officially inform you that the Government of Liberia has decided to turn over the body of your husband, Mr. Harry Greaves, to you and the family effective as of this evening, March 5, 2016. The John F. Kennedy Medical Center, in whose custody the body of Mr. Greaves is currently, has accordingly been notified. With this turnover of the body to the family, you are at liberty to proceed with the funeral or to conduct further forensic examination on the body as the family may deem fit and necessary”, the Minister’s communication to the family reads.

By Bridgett Milton -Edited by Jonathan Browne

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