The skeletal remains of four persons retrieved from two places in Sekondi-Takoradi in the Western Region last August have proved to be those of the four Takoradi girls who went missing at various places in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis between August 28 and December 28, 2018.
Forensic and DNA tests conducted by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service on the skeletal remains confirmed the identity of the girls.
Confirming the results of the tests Monday, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr James Oppong Boanuh, told a press conference that the families of the girls had already been informed about the results and, accordingly, expressed the condolence of the service to the bereaved families.
Results of DNA tests
“DNA tests conducted on some human remains discovered in the course of police investigations into the disappearance of four missing girls have turned positive as the remains of the girls.
“The Ghana Police Service has, with regret, therefore, informed the families that the remains are those of Ruth Abakah, Priscilla Blessing Bentum, Ruth Love Quayson and Priscilla Koranchie,” the IGP told the press at the Police Headquarters Monday.
“While we wish we had actionable intelligence in good time to have rescued the girls alive, the painstaking investigations, nonetheless, have contributed to ensuring that the persons responsible are brought before the law and prevented from carrying out other similar crimes in the future,” Mr Oppong Boanuh said.
He said the investigations had also established that the girls were victims of a serial kidnapping and murdering syndicate that operated within the Sekondi/Takoradi metropolis, indicating that a total of four arrests had been made in connection with the incident.
“The investigations now establish that the girls were victims of a serial kidnapping and murdering syndicate that operated in the Takoradi area. While, for various reasons, we were unsuccessful in obtaining and acting on accurate actionable intelligence in good time to enable us to rescue the girls, we believe that the arrest of the culprits has effectively thwarted the ability of this syndicate to have continued with further kidnappings and murders,” he said.
The IGP commended the investigative team for their effort in unravelling the mystery and uncovering the heinous crime, indicating that “the intelligence work led to the arrest of other suspects in foreign jurisdictions”.
He expressed the gratefulness of the police to the other security agencies in Ghana and the sub-region for their support throughout the investigations.
On August 2, 2019, the investigative team discovered skeletal remains of three persons in a cesspit tank serving a house at Kansaworodo in Takoradi, where the prime suspect, Samuel Uduatuk, had lived before his initial arrest in December 2018.
The team decided to re-examine all available facts associated with the case and suspect Uduatuk’s residence in Takoradi was searched.
The investigative team retrieved bones suspected to be human remains from the cesspit tank, together with two sets of earrings and fingernails and artificial teeth.
Three days later, another skeletal remains were retrieved from a well near an uncompleted building at Nkroful where the suspect had been rearrested when he broke jail in December 2018.
The clothes and some other personal effects of a female found in that uncompleted building were identified by the father of one of the missing girls.
The remains were sent to Accra, and after meetings to seek the cooperation of the families of the girls, forensic and DNA tests were carried out to identify the remains.
Although she was the first person to have gone missing on July 29, 2018, it was not until August 5, 2019 when the fourth remains were retrieved that Ms Abakah, 19, was included in the list of missing girls, despite her grandparents reporting the incident to the police on July 30, 2018.
The second victim, Blessing Bentum, 21, was kidnapped at Kansaworodo on August 17, 2018, while the third victim, Love Quayson, 18, was kidnapped at the Butumegyabu Junction, popularly known as the BU Junction in Takoradi, on December 4, last year.
Mantebea Koranchie,15, a first-year student of the Sekondi College (SEKCO) who resided at West Fijai with her parents, went missing at a location near the Nkroful Junction on December 4, last year.