The family of 19-year-old Ruth Abakah, who has been missing in Takoradi since July 29, 2018, has been torn apart as her biological mother has blamed the slow pace of investigations on the grandfather with whom she lived.
According to the grandfather, Mr Emmanuel Cobbinah Anzah, his daughter, Ayisah (Ruth’s mother), who currently lived at Tarkwa Nsuaem, had refused to talk or have anything to do with him over the missing girl as she believed he did not push enough for the police to devote equal attention to their case as has been done for the other three missing girls — Priscilla Blessing Bentum, 21, Ruth Love Quayson, 18, and Priscilla Mantebea Koranchie, 15.
At a meeting with the police on Wednesday, Mr Anzah, who fought hard to push back tears, said he would not be able to lead them to his daughter and would rather give them the directions and contact number for the investigative team to reach her.
The Western Regional Police Command had invited Mr Anzah yesterday to seek information and also inform him about the discovery made by an investigative team last Tuesday at Nkroful, where the skeletal remains of a yet-to-be-identified person was retrieved from a well in an uncompleted building, which is suspected to be that of the 19-year-old Miss Abakah who was reported missing by her grandfather in July 2018.
Mr Anzah said based on the complaint he lodged with the police on July 29, 2018, he was contacted last Tuesday when the police made the discovery at the uncompleted building at Nkroful, the same place where the prime suspect in the three missing girls’ case, Samuel Udoetuk-Willis, was rearrested last December after he had escaped from lawful custody.
Ruth the Sunday School teacher
Talking about his granddaughter who had been living with his family since she was aged three, Mr Anzah said she was a Sunday School teacher of the Methodist Church Ghana, Diabene Society, and like every Sunday, went to church on the day (July 29, 2018) she went missing.
“I took my granddaughter from the mother at the age of three as the father died before her birth and we wanted to help our daughter out in taking care of the children. My wife was an educationist so we thought it was better for the children to be with us in Takoradi instead of Tarkwa, and there was never a problem with that arrangement for the 15 years she and her other siblings had stayed with us, until she failed to return home after church on that fateful July 29,” the middle-aged man who occasionally paused and took a deep breath, narrated.
When the girl went missing, “I went to the Diabene Chief’s palace that evening and immediately, an announcement of the disappearance of Ruth was made on the community’s public address system”.
“The following day, I went to the police at Kojokrom and then moved to Takoradi and we were assured of a search to locate her for us”.
“That same day, I received a call from a lady who told me on the other side of the phone that our granddaughter whom we were looking for was with them and that they had kidnapped her and she would only be released after a ransom between GH¢20,000 and GH¢30,000 had been paid,” he said.
Recounting the anxious moments he and his wife went through as they tried to negotiate the ransom, Mr Anzah said he told the caller that the family could not afford the money they had demanded as they were pensioners and as soon as the caller hanged up, he went back to the police at both Kojokrom and Takoradi to report the incident and then gave them the number.
“The investigators also called that number and tried to negotiate with the kidnappers but they did not arrive at any conclusion,” the missing girl’s grandfather indicated.
Transfer of GH¢5
The kidnappers, he further said, were very persistent with their calls to drum home their demand for the ransom “so we then decided to know whose number it was by transferring an amount of GH¢5 to that number and the transaction confirmed the recipient as Josephine Dadzie.”
Mr Anzah also revealed that later, they called again, this time, with his granddaughter’s number requesting him to transfer any amount to their phone so they release the girl; however, I told them I did not have enough money to send to them.
“For them to take money from us at all cost, the kidnappers found my granddaughter’s ID card and registered the mobile money with her MTN sim card, then requested that we send GH¢202 or GH¢303 to that number.
“They had all along used a Vodafone line to call but when we saw Ruth’s number, we sent the GH¢202 they had requested,” he further revealed.
Waiting in vain
They then told us to wait at Fijai Junction the next day. We waited from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. to no avail,” he said.
“We called again and they told us to move to Kojokrom Junction. We went there and waited up to 7:30 p.m. still no sign of them or my granddaughter,” he said with intermittent pauses.
The next call to the kidnappers, he said, was an insult and the explanation that the family did not pay on time so that should serve as punishment for them. Next time they should be on time and the call terminated.
“The next day, they called to tell me they were now going to think about the exact amount and that they would call us back when they were ready. In all these developments, we kept faith and informed the police from the very first call to the ransom and gave the police the numbers they left for us.”
Mr Anzah said though the police took over the case, the kidnappers contacted and persistently asked for the ransom and had hoped that the police could use the contact number from which they called to locate them but that was not successful.
He expressed disappointment that despite the police being aware of their missing granddaughter, they failed to account for her among the missing girls but expressed the hope that the discoveries from the ongoing investigations would help resolve the issue.
Painful one year
Asked how the family had coped with the disappearance of the girl, Mr Anzah said: “It has been a painful one year. Even when we went back to ask that the number of missing girls be corrected to four and not three, our plea was not taken until the discovery last Tuesday.
“If for nothing at all, now our daughter will know that we indeed acted in our bid to find her missing Ruth.”