Family members of the late Special Agent Bobby N. Calphin, an operative of the elite presidential guard Executive Protection Service (EPS) assigned to Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor say they are in doubt over what is claimed to be a suicide resulting to the officer’s death.
Officer Calphin was found hanging dead in one of his unfinished buildings in the AB Tolbert Community with an alleged suicide note in his pocket which listed individuals he had been indebted to, amount to a total of USD400 about LRD57, 200.
Following reports of Mr. Calphin’s death at his residence on the A.B. Tolbert Road Saturday, 2 June, this paper visited the scene on Wednesday, 6 June and was led by family members in an unfinished room of one of his two houses where the deceased allegedly hung himself.
The family members pointed to an iron rod on the wall about 11 courses of bricks high from the floor in the room to which Mr. Calphin is alleged to have tied the rope he used to hang himself.
Below the iron rod on which he allegedly tied the rope he used to commit the allege suicide stands a small partition of wall just about seven courses of bricks high from the floor and very close to where the late Calphin may have hung in the room. Officer Calphin is around 5’5 tall.
The family members also pointed to a short portion of the rope that was left tied to the iron rod on the wall in the room after officers allegedly cut the rope to which Officer Calphin was hung and lay his corpse down on the floor on Saturday.
Interviewed Wednesday outside a shop attached to one of their houses, the deceased’s wife Mrs. Kebbeh S. Calphin narrates that she and her husband did everything together on Saturday morning, 2 June when she was packaging mayonnaise, condensed milk, peanut butter among others for their provision shop before the deceased asked her to go to the market after 12pm.
They sell goods like mayonnaise, butter and other smaller food items in the shop attached to the first house near the road inside the A.B. Tolbert Road Community.
Kebbeh says her husband left her at the shop and went inside the second house which is unfinished, and she thought he had gone there to lie down as usual.
When she returned from the market and began parking her goods in the shop, Kebbeh narrates that she heard her children shouting inside the unfinished house.
She says she thought they were shouting because of fire incident resulting from electricity, but community people ran in the house and immediately informed her that her husband was found hanging.“I say that’s lie. That’s lie … y’all go see the person good, I say that’s lie,” Mrs. Calphin explains.
After establishing that Mr. Calphin was hanging in the room, she says she later began calling the deceased’s family members, but their numbers were off.Kebbeh says she did not know her husband to be indebted to anyone or a financial club, dismissing speculations that the deceased may have committed suicide due to debt.
She says she was part of a financial club that allows members to borrow and pay back money which does not exceed what individual members put into the club.
At Calphin’s workplace at the Executive Mansion, Kebbeh narrates that workers can borrow money if they are jammed for money and they can pay back whatever they take with interest at the end of the month.
“…It’s not like to say he’s saying I’m owing, I don’t have the money so I’m killing myself,” she says, adding that it’s like those that he took money from he put their full names on the paper and wrapped it with the money in his pocket.
According to her, Calphin’s workmates told her that all those he was indebted to base on the list he had in his pocket were from his working place.“So that one, that’s not something for the person to say they’re going to kill themselves, because you can only kill yourself on something you won’t get and they’re [harassing] you for it,” she argues.
She adds that the late Calphin brought his salary home, and where there was salary delay, she knew because all the government workers explain it.She says they were together for 28 years, and she observed him to be an easy man while she was the one who talked because of the children.
She recalls that in the past when things were difficult, they had to look for cheap soap made from costic soda known here as ‘Iron Soap’ to wash dishes, unlike today when things have improved.
According to her, most of their seven children are out of high school, and only three are still in high school. She says she met two of those children with Calphin, but they were living a happy family life.
Pointing to Mr. Calphin’s two houses and the shop she is running, the foodstuff that she says is wasting in the home, the 45 year – old Mrs. Calphin wonders what will really make her husband to take his own life, saying “… the time school fees business was on him, we were renting in people’s house, he didn’t do anything like that.”
When security people went on the scene, she said she and the rest of the family including their children out to search her husband’s corpse.
Mrs. Calphin says she leaves this case with God for his intervention, asking him (God) to expose anything that is in secret so that everybody will know about it.
She says police turned over the corpse to the family on Wednesday and it is now at state – run John F. Kennedy Hospital, and she is awaiting Mr. Calphin’s family to decide on taking the body to the funeral home.
Mrs. Calphin only appeal right now is that people stop spreading the speculations and false stories surrounding her husband’s death.
The late EPS officer’s younger brother, Mr. Pascal Z. Calphin who lives in the ELWA Community says if there is anyone that would want to commit suicide would be him and not his older brother. He says it tis his older brother who always use to counsel him in times of problems.
“So I’m very much surprised to see that the man who is well trained and inclined, that has been advising other people including me would be the one to do that. So that’s where my doubt is. I can’t understand what happened to my brother,” Pascal told this paper.
Pascal says EPS Officers were already on the incident scene before he got there after receiving call in the evening surrounding his brother’s death.He says the officers stopped the entire family from entering the place where the body was until officers from the Homicide Division of the Liberia National Police (LNP) got there.
According to Pascal, the family waited for almost one hour plus before the police arrived on the scene, and also asked all civilians to go six feet away from the scene.
Pascal narrates that he managed to go among the officers in the room and witnessed them checking on his late brother.He says one of the security officers climbed in the chair, cut the rope on the wall and they lie Mr. Calphin down on the floor and then continued checking on him to see if he had injury on his body.
But he says there was nothing like that. He notes that he suggested to the officers to check his brother’s pocket because something important might be there that all would need to see.
When officers put hands in the late Calphin’s pocket, Pascal narrates that they took out two phones that were all switched off along with LD$1,650.00 plus US$140.00.
Additionally, Pascal says the officers took a paper from Mr. Calphin’s pocket with a heading on it that read: “Persons that I’m owing,” naming four persons below the caption.
“The first person he named, the amount he put in front that person’s name was $275 USD, the second one was $70, and the third one was $56 dollars. The fourth person, he only named the fourth person but he never mentioned the amount there,” says Pascal.
According to Pascal, the total amount his brother mentioned on the paper was about US$401.00.“So mine question now is, this man had about $140 US in his pocket and $1,650 Liberian Dollars and he’s owing about $401 US, is this money more than his life that would cause him to kill himself.?” Pascal wonders.
He describes his brother as an easy going guy that he lived with around 2004 and 2006. During those years, he says his brother struggled because some officers were downsized when the late Gyude Bryant chaired the Transitional Government.
At that time, Pascal says Mr. Calphin was renting, sending almost seven children to school, and facing pressure from landlord, yet he says his brother did not commit suicide.
He wonders how his brother could now do such thing at a time he has built two houses that anyone can see and appreciate.He says Mr. Ccalphin and his family lived together happily, saying he does not want to believe that the deceased would want to do such thing to embarrass his children.
He says Calphin cared for his family, and would even borrow money if the need be to provide food for the home.According to him, securities took the body from the family on Saturday, and before returning it, they interviewed the deceased’s wife and his daughter that were at home on the day of the incident.He says the family has received clearance to go for the body.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah