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“Raped!!” Genevieve uttered in shock. Her facial expression seen on her face exposed how taken aback the news got to her.
“Could it mean he took her virginity through that process?” Tiwa asked.
“I am a professional in this line of work. I know what I am saying.” Omoni sounded offended. “The victim was not a virgin.”
“I apologize for my unnecessary remark.”
Genevieve suddenly showed sign of anger on her face. She faced Omoni. “I might be exaggerating but I found it strange when the father said he had all the numbers of his daughter’s female friends. Sade could have been a victim of sexual abuse.”
Tiwa eyes expanded as she looked at her. She dropped her hand. “Do you think that man sexually abused his daughter?”
“Anything is possible.”
“They are Christians. I don’t see him as a suspect but we should have asked him where he was when his daughter left the house.”
“We have to talk to Abraham too.”
“I know. He could also be a student in the same school.” Tiwa said.
“He should be a senior because the housekeeper mentioned he was older than Sade.”
“Who could she have been sleeping with?”
“The mother is so sure her daughter died a virgin.”
“And the father didn’t say anything about it. He will be coming to the bureau to see Adebiyi. We will talk to him during that period.”
“Why didn’t you tell him you were a co-owner,” Genevieve said. “Whatever he wants to tell Mr. Gold, he would have told you.”
“I didn’t want to explain myself. It’s better he see him instead.”
“Okay.” She pointed at Omoni. “Before we forget, Mr. Akanju says you can keep his daughter’s body until we find the killer.”
“But if he said that, he doesn’t sound like a suspect to me. It means he wants the killer of his daughter caught.”
“What if that is a plot for us not to question and suspect him?”
“Maybe,” Omoni said. “What’s the way forward now?”
Tiwa glanced at her wristwatch. “It’s not yet their lunch time at the school. Maybe we should wait.”
“If the choirmaster’s number was on the file,” Genevieve said. “I would have called him to come here for questioning.”
“Leroy said he was sick.”
“But he wasn’t questioned about his relationship with the victim. I think we should talk to him after all Sade wanted to join the choir. They must have talked before he gave her the form. We could go to the church and check if he is around or collect his phone number from one of the members of the choir.”
“She was a shy girl. Why now? Why join the choir now? What made her bold enough to join the choir? She was definitely prepared to face the congregation.”
“Detectives,” Omoni said. “My two cents, she trusted the person that killed her.”
“Why do you say so?” Genevieve asked.
“She didn’t go directly to the church, instead she went somewhere else. She knew her parents were strict, and if they ever find out she didn’t go straight to the church, she would be in trouble.”
“The form was still with her when she died.” Tiwa said. “She wasn’t planning to run away, she still had plans to go to the church. It was just to submit the form so there was enough time for her to go see who she was probably sleeping with or maybe a new lover she visited for the first time.”
“And that person raped and killed her.”
“Dr. Omoni, when your assistant talked about the tiles, I don’t think it’s possible for her head to break the tiles.”
“Yes, we talked about that after both of you left. It is likely something hard fell on it and in that process he hit her head on it.”
“For something to fall on the tiles,” Genevieve joined the conversation. “It could mean a struggle occurred between them.”
“And that could be why something hard must have fallen to break the tiles!” Tiwa uttered.
“Kevin said that kind of tiles is expensive. Do you think the person would be able to repair the floor immediately? I don’t think so.”
“But the person won’t risk it and leave it opened."
Genevieve sighed. “He would fix it up or get something like a carpet or rug to cover the place.”
“Her sandals could still be with her killer or he threw them away.” Omoni said. A male detective knocked. “Come in.”
He notified Tiwa that the parents of Sade had seen Mr. Gold.
“His wife came with him?” She enquired.
“Better. Send them into my office. I will be with them shortly.”
“Okay ma.” He shut the door.
“Are you going to accuse him of sexual abuse on his daughter?” Omoni asked Genevieve.
“It depends on how he responds to our questions. We will see you later, thanks doc.”
“Thank you too for listening.”
As they reached the door, Tiwa turned back. “Is it possible for you to examine the body to check if she ever got pregnant or did an abortion?”
“It’s possible. I will do that and give a feedback.”
They left and entered into the office and greeted the parents. Tiwa settled on her chair while Genevieve stood beside her. Mrs. Akanju had swollen eyes and there was no makeup on her face. Her husband wore a straight face that made him look like an authoritarian.
“Any news?” Mrs. Akanju asked. She had lost her voice.
“Not yet ma,” Tiwa said. “We would like to know if your daughter was very happy with both of you.”
“What do you mean?” Mr. Akanju asked in a stern tone.
“How did you treat your late daughter?”
“My wife and I treated our daughter with love and respect! What are you trying to say to us that we maltreated her?”
“Did you?” Genevieve asked.
He looked up at her face angrily and rose on his feet. “How dare you! Is that why you asked to see us? Instead of you to go out and search for my daughter’s killer, you are asking me nonsense! You are both incompetent and incapable to catch a murderer!”
“Did you sexually abuse your daughter?”
Mrs. Akanju speedily stood. “What an insult! We are born again Christians and my husband can never do such an ungodly act to Sade. My daughter was a virgin!”
“Then tell us how you truly treated your daughter before she was killed!” Tiwa quickly said. She didn’t want Genevieve to let the cat out of the bag that she was no virgin.
“We didn’t maltreat her!”
“Then how did she get those scars on her body? You are her parents and I believe you know about them. Our ‘competent’ examiner told us she was a victim of child abuse! Yes or no?”
The couple's face fell. Mrs. Akanju gently pulled her husband on the seat as she sat. She faced him.
“We have to tell them. There is nothing to be ashamed of anymore.”
He viewed her sad face and glanced at the detectives. He hurled a loud sigh. “My wife and I used to be very poor. We couldn’t even afford a meal. Things were extremely bad. Some years ago, I contacted an aunt of mine who told us to send Sade to her. She promised she would send her to school and take good care of her. We did and we trusted her.” This time tears puffed out from his eyeballs. “We didn’t know. We didn’t know she did the opposite. My daughter was treated as a slave. She wasn’t sent to school but hawked oranges and whenever she did not sell everything, my aunt would strip her naked and flog her mercilessly. That was how she got the scars. When we knew, we took her away. I didn’t care if we couldn’t give her the best but we cared for her with the little we had. My wife persuaded me to change our church but it didn’t get better. When things became extremely rough,” he swallowed. “I nearly committed suicide. It was a miracle that day because when I wanted to hang myself, my pastor came in and stopped it. That day, he changed my life and that of my family. He gave me a car and a job, opened a lucrative business for my wife and offered to pay the fees of Sade’s education. Ever since that day, we never suffered.”
Mrs. Akanju burst into tears and held him tight. He wiped his face and put his wife’s head on his shoulder as she wept. Tiwa and Genevieve were speechless and emotions surged into them. They felt weak in their bones.
“How could I sexually abuse my daughter when I wanted the best for her?” Mr. Akanju questioned as he patted his wife’s back.
“Why do you keep the numbers of your daughter’s friends?” Genevieve asked.
“Their parents are my friends too. Most of them attend the same church with me. I always call them whenever my daughter goes to their houses. Is that a problem? You can ask any of Sade friends.”
“Who was with Sade when she left the house?” Tiwa questioned them.
“Me.” Mrs. Akanju replied after she released herself from her husband hold. She cleaned her watery face. “Why did you ask?”
“Where was your husband?”
“He went out.” She answered.
Tiwa stared into his eyes. “Where did you go to sir?”
“Why such a question?” He inquired.
“Were you not at the office?” His wife asked him.
“Then where were you?”
“I went out for an official assignment.”
“Oh, okay.” She rose and asked to use the bathroom.
Genevieve gave her directions and as she left the office, she looked at Mr. Akanju. “We will the need names of people you were with.”
He removed his eyes from their direction. “I lied. I didn’t go on an official assignment. I was in a hotel to meet a woman.”
They looked at him with disgust.
“We will need the contact of the woman now to confirm your alibi.” Tiwa said.
He gazed at her. “She didn’t show up. I have no alibi.”
“What about the receptionist at the hotel?”
“I don’t think she saw me or would be able to recognize me when I left. I booked the room online. All you have to do is go to the room number, the key is there waiting for you.”
“When did you return home?”
“By 8pm. I thought my guest would come but she never did.”
“How did you find out Sade was missing?"
“My wife started to call me by 6pm but I didn’t pick up. I thought she wanted to ask where I was. When my guest didn’t show up, I called my wife around after seven and that was when she told me Sade did not return home.”
Mrs. Akanju entered but didn’t sit. “Are you through with the questions?”
“Yes but one more question before both of you leave here, who is Abraham?”
The couple exchanged glances before Mr. Akanju rose up and spoke. “If Abraham knew anything about it, he would have said something. Please, leave the poor boy out of this murder investigation. Thank you. Can we go now?”
“Yes.” Tiwa replied. “We will keep in touch.” They left.
“He is cheating on his wife.” Genevieve said. “I thought he was born again?”
“You can imagine. He does not even have an alibi. Even if the receptionist can identify him, he still looks like a suspect to me because he was alone in the room and he could have left and return to the hotel anytime without anyone noticing.”
“We should keep an eye on him. It seemed you didn’t want them to know their daughter was not a virgin.”
“Don’t you think she will be disappointed if we told her? Instead of her to mourn, she would be asking herself what she did wrong to train Sade. She trusted her daughter but Sade broke that trust.”
“I feel for that woman. She should be in her late forties. I hope she would be able to get pregnant again.”
“I hope so.”
Genevieve glanced at the wall clock. “It’s eleven forty two pm. We have to go to the school now. The time for their lunch period is close.”
“By twelve, right?”
“Okay but one more thing, the killer definitely dumbed Sade’s body in that place at night. That corn woman must have seen something. She said I should leave her alone with her children. Could it be the killer saw her and threatened to harm her family if she said anything?”
“We really don’t know until we talk to her again.”
“And if we do, I will do anything to make her talk even if I have to break her legs.”
Genevieve laughed and said, “Remember she has children to take care of.”
The partners arrived at the secondary school at eleven fifty eight pm. Genevieve called the teacher on the phone and she met them standing close to the security spot. She came along with her daughter.
“Is it true my friend is dead?” The young girl asked.
“It’s true.” Tiwa replied.
“My name is Joy and my mother said you wanted to ask me personal questions about Sade.”
“I do visit her at home once in a while. We mostly talk about school, books and our favorite movies. Sade never told me if she was going through anything.”
“What about her parents, did she ever complain about them?”
“No but she always talked about her mom. She loved that woman so much. She said she if she ever make it in life, she would take her mother to any country she wants.”
“What about her dad?” Genevieve asked.
“She does not talk about him but she complained he was strict.”
“You’re welcome. Can I collect your number from my mom in case I want to ask if you have caught her killer?”
“Of course you can, you can call me anytime.”
“Thank you ma.”
As mother and daughter stepped away, Genevieve caught a glimpse of Abraham as he approached a kiosk. She called out his name and he turned to her. He halted and surveyed his surrounding before he moved towards them with an unhappy face.
“How are you Abraham?” She asked.
He frowned. “My best friend is dead, I am not fine.”
“We are sorry for your loss.”
“What do you want?”
“First of all, where were you the day Sade died?”
He looked at them with a surprised expression. “With due respect, don’t ever look at me as a suspect, I loved Sade, she was like a sister…” He paused and said, “Shouldn’t you be asking me questions with my parents present? I know my right, and if you don’t leave, I will go straight to my principal’s office to report I am being harassed by you detectives. Leave me alone and do your job, find Sade crazy killer!” he turned away from them and began to stroll.
“If you truly loved her like you said, you would tell us what you know about her murder!” Tiwa uttered.
He stopped walking but did not look back.
Tiwa and Genevieve waited for a response but they were disappointed when he started to walk far away from them. They left the school, went for lunch and later drove back to GT Bureau.
Mrs. Akanju entered into her daughter's room after her visitors had left. She had closed her shop and given her sales girl two weeks off. She inhaled as she looked at Sade’s photograph on the wall. She sauntered closed to it and pointed at it.
“Sade you promised me. You promised you would do a lot for me when you become an adult. Is this the promise? I told you several times how difficult it was for me to have another child. I can’t forget what you told me the last time I talked about it again. You said what five children would do for me you would do them for me.” She erupted into tears, took the photograph and held it close to her chest. She sat on the bed as tears dripped from her eyes. “Sade, Sade, ah! You have broken my heart.”
A student and her mother came into the bureau. Tiwa and Genevieve questioned her in the interrogation room but the girl didn’t have the kind of answers they were looking for. On their way out, the second and third friends of Sade came with their parents. After they questioned them together, they got nothing.
A classmate of Sade arrived. She was a pretty girl with a nice smile. She and her dad gestured towards the detectives and they led them inside. She sat. The stern looking man chose to stay on his feet and stand at the left side of his daughter. He introduced himself.
“If I find your questions odd, I will walk out with her.” He said, looking at Tiwa. “Agreed?”
She responded with a nod. Genevieve and Tiwa sat down.
“My daughter is the brightest in her class and the third best in the school. Don’t beat around the bush; kindly go straight with your questions."
“Dad,” she said with her tiny voice. “It is okay.”
He didn’t say a word.
Tiwa smiled at her and she smiled back. “What’s your name?”
“Mercy, were you very close to Sade?”
“Yes. My dad told me about her death last night. Is it really true?"
“Oh God. Sade was quiet but also free whenever we were together. She sang for us anytime I and our other friends visit her at home."
“Did she ever tell you if she was going through something that made her sad or scared?”
“Did she ever tell you if she was going through something that made her sad or scared?”
Mercy turned her face to her left side. “Dad, can I talk to them privately?”
Genevieve quickly said to him. “Please, Mr. Mezie, I think she is more comfortable talking only to my partner and I. Can you give us few minutes alone with her?”
He didn’t answer but jagged a finger at Mercy’s face. She bowed down her head. “I hope you don’t say what will put you in trouble! I will be waiting outside.” He stormed out of the room.
Tiwa put her hand on Mercy’s left hand. “You will not be in trouble no matter what you say.”
She raised her head. “A month ago, Sade asked me if I knew what postinor was used for.”
She nodded. “I told her I didn’t know but I did. When I asked why she asked such a question, she said I shouldn’t worry.”
The partner exchanged glances. Genevieve asked Mercy. “Could she have been pregnant and tried to get rid of it?”
“I asked her if she was pregnant but she only smiled and said she would be fine. Last week Monday at school, I was at the cafeteria, I saw her talking to herself while eating. When I got close to her, I heard her say ‘my dad is the cause of everything’. I pretended as if I didn’t hear and immediately I asked her what she said, she said nothing.”
“My dad is the cause of everything?”
“You are sure you heard her say that.”
“I know what I heard and that is exactly what she said.”
“Do you know Abraham?” Genevieve asked her.
She smiled. “Yes, he was Sade’s best friend before she died. He is my senior in school.”
“Do you know if they quarreled recently?”
“No but I saw her snub him at the assembly day before yesterday. She was very upset when she saw him approach her with a handshake. On a normal day, it would be a hug.”
“Did you ask her why?”
“No. I know she wouldn’t tell me.”
“Were they dating secretly?”
“I don’t think so. Girls have a crush on Abraham and few of them are my friends. They told me to ask Sade if she was his girlfriend but she said no. She told me he was like an elder brother to her. She didn’t hide her feelings that she liked him a lot but as a sibling. Abraham is a cool and friendly boy. I think everybody likes him.”
“No girl has claimed to be his girlfriend in school?”
Mercy shook her head and stopped instantly. “There is a particular girl in his class that claimed to be his girlfriend. Well, the truth came out later that she was lying. She is not even a bright student, always forming a big girl. We attend the same church too. She never liked Sade. Maybe you should talk to her.”
Tiwa asked, “What’s her name?”
“Justine. I remember she once threatened Sade after church service few weeks ago but Sade didn’t take it seriously.”
“Over Abraham! After we closed from church, Sade, two other girls and I went to buy ice cream. She came to warn Sade to give Abraham breathing space otherwise, she would break her head.”
“She said that because of a boy?”
“Yes.” She sighed. “Please whenever you talk to her, don’t tell her I was the one that told you about the threat. I don’t want her trouble.”
“We will not reveal our source when we question her about it.” Tiwa said.
“Thank you.” Mercy said and leaned forward to the desk. She whispered to Genevieve and Tiwa. “I do not know if it is true, I heard a rumor in my school that Justine’s elder brother is a cultist.”
The partner seemed surprised.
“Can you tell us who you heard the rumor from?”
“A senior that wanted me to be his girlfriend but I refused. I think he is close to Justine, I do see them together after school. His name is Zach.”
“Yes. A church member once accused her brother of attempted rape but the police dismissed the case. There was no evidence to prove she was saying the truth. She had to apologize to him and the church for fabricating the story but she told her younger brother that he really tried to rape her. Her brother is my senior at school."
“Do you know how she was able to escape from him?” Genevieve asked.
“She said his sister came home and heard her screaming. When our pastor asked Justine about it, she said it was a big lie. I know Justine is lying. She is always lying about one thing or the other at school.”
“We definitely have to talk to Justine and her brother.” She said to Tiwa.
Tiwa spoke. “We will need permission from the parents of Justine to question her. The brother should be an adult.”
“Yes, he is. He is studying at the university.” Mercy’s eyes fell on Tiwa’s gold Wristwatch. “Please, what’s the time?”
She checked it and replied. “It’s 3:35pm.
“You can question him if you get there on time. He should be at the church now, he must be there practicing.”
“Music,” Mercy answered. “Justine’s brother is our church choirmaster.”
The last statement she made left Tiwa and Genevieve speechless.
To be continued.....
To be continued.....