Police probe of last month’s death of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife,MBA student, Timothy Adegoke, appears to have thrown up a challenge for detectives following the emergence of two autopsy reports on the cause of his death.
Adegoke, 37, died at Hilton Hotel, Ile-Ife shortly after checking into the facility on Friday November 5, and his corpse was dumped in a grave on the outskirts of the city.
The owner of the hotel, Dr. Ramon Adedoyin, and some of his employees are being detained over Adegoke’s death.
The autopsy conducted on the corpse is now generating claims and counter claims from the family of the victim and the suspects.
The bone of contention is the phrase ‘severe trauma’ used by the pathologists in one of the reports as the cause of Adegoke’s death.
The official reports are yet to be made public.
The autopsy was conducted on November 22 by six experts including three pathologists. Their reports were presented to the Police Headquarters, Abuja with a copy submitted to the Osun State Police Command penultimate Thursday.
The four-hour autopsy took place at the Department of Morbid Anatomy, Osun State University Teaching Hospital with all sides, including the bereaved family and their lawyers as well as those of Adedoyin and the police, present.
The process started with the identification of the body by the elder brother of the deceased, Gbade Adegoke.
One of the autopsy reports attributed Adegoke’s death to ‘severe trauma’ while the other report said the cause of death could not be medically determined due to the advanced stage of decomposition of the body.
There is no mention of the time he suffered the trauma relative to the time of death and the type of trauma.
But the two reports agree that the deceased’s internal and external organs (including the genitalia) were complete, untouched and in their normal positions.
The internal organs like the heart, kidney, livers and others could not be subjected to the test because they were said to be already in advanced decomposition stage.
“The stomach had decomposed and was melting while they were carrying out the test,” a source said.
“Pathologists agreed that no incision, cut or blood injuries, bruises or wound were found on his neck. The deceased suffered no fracture wounds or injuries to his ribs,” one of the reports said.
However, the corpse had a sub-capital fracture on its femur.
The report did not state when this occurred; whether before or after his death.
It added: “Furthermore, due to the advanced nature of the decomposition of the body and the internal organs, no toxicology tests were conducted on the body and other internal organs to determine whether the deceased died of poison, chemical inhalation or other harmful substance (s) or of natural causes or diseases.
“If it is truly established that this is the position, then it will be medically and scientifically wrong to rule out that the deceased did not die of natural causes.”
Also, the partial decomposition of the body was attributed to the exposure of the body to the elements for about four days.
Police sources told The Nation that officials of the Water and Environmental Sanitation Department of the Ife Central Local Government Area buried the corpse after obtaining clearance from the Nigerian Police Force, “A” Division, Moore, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
A medical doctor who does not want his name mentioned described the severe trauma phrase as an open-ended conclusion.
“Trauma could be as a result of hitting him with sticks or sickness, or anything,” the source said.
Another medical doctor said pathologists could come up with different results on a single autopsy, adding that interpretations of the result of the test would be determined by the circumstances and perspective they are looking at the report.
He said: “The one who will look or interpret the result, based on forensics, is different from the way others are going to perceive it.
“For example, if someone is strangled, the test will show the marks and how it has been constrained. The test will reveal the marks on the neck. You will see where carotid arteries, jugular veins were restrained and constrained from taking in blood supply or passing out blood supply. He will now conclude that the person had been strangled.
“Yet the same pathologist, having checked the body, now discovers poison in the corpse’s system that is different from hydrochloric acid which is natural in people’s stomach in the gastric area.
“Now, he could see the acid and discover that it is not hydrochloric acid but sulphuric acid, but he read it was truly the person was strangled, but to cover that the deceased was strangled, acid was poured on the deceased person’s stomach. That is one aspect.
“Another person might look at it from another perspective that when the victim was strangled, acid was poured into his stomach or mistakenly drank something that could be acidic, but because the acid in the victim’s stomach would automatically cause choking episodes, the victim might hold on to his neck and start struggling.
As you can see, they both have the same scenario and different episodes; two different opinions, two different ideas and different medical write-ups.”
He also said it would be difficult to carry out a toxicology test on the corpse because right now Nigeria does not have the technology to do that.
“I doubt if we have the technology of carbon dating in Nigeria, but the country is advanced in the medical field to a very reasonable extent. I still believe that the pathologists should be able, to a large extent, determine the cause of death.”
While the controversies rage, a source warned that “it is the Consultant Pathologists that can, individually or collectively, explain the reason(s) why there was no unanimity in their findings and conclusions.”
Nigeria system may fail me in getting justice — Wife laments
Adegoke’s widow, Bolatito, told The Nation that she has not been officially told about the result of the autopsy.
She said: “We are on the matter. Nobody is threatening me, but they are threatening my in-law who is the elder brother of my husband, Gbade Adegoke. They attempted to kidnap him about four days ago.
“The police told us that they would announce the results of the autopsy officially, but I don’t know any latest development about it.
“But I was told that the result of the autopsy favoured us. The police have informed us officially that they have received the reports but I don’t know the content of it.
“We have our pathologist who participated in the procedure. If not because of the type of country we are in, this issue is glaring that my husband was killed. We don’t need to stress ourselves on it.
“He went for his final exam and slept in the hotel. He was killed, buried with the bed sheet of the hotel. We have evidence. I pray that the Nigerian system will not fail me to get justice for my late husband.
“The more I am hearing issues around this autopsy, the more I’m saddened, because they already have overwhelming evidence to nail all the culprits. My husband was hale and healthy when he left Abuja for Ile-Ife.
“Let us even assume that he was sick to death, did they inform family members? They disposed of all his phones and my husband’s personal belongings and even buried his corpse in a shallow grave.
“They (suspects) don’t have any defence. They did not inform any member of the family to notify them of his (husband) death.
“If they claim that there were drugs in his bag, was it to kill himself? He attended a meeting in Akure, if he was not feeling too well I won’t allow him to go for the exam. I did not see any drug with my husband. He was not hypertensive or had any medication before.
“Unfortunately, the autopsy report took a long time than usual. In a sane country, it takes 72 hours. People called us that they were ready to fly the corpse of my husband to an advanced country for an autopsy.”
No second autopsy was conducted — Adedoyin’s lawyer
Abiodun Williams, a lawyer to the detained owner of Hilton Honours Hotels, Ramon Adedoyin, said contrary to speculations in some quarters, there was no second autopsy conducted on the body of the late Mr Timothy Adegoke.
He said the only one he knew about took place on November 22 at the Morbid Anatomy Department of the Osun State University Teaching Hospital, Osogbo.
He said: “At the said post mortem examination, all parties were duly represented. Prof. Obafunwa led the team for the deceased family while Prof. Olusegun Ojo led the team for Dr Ramon Adedoyin. Three other consultant pathologists led by Prof. Afolayan led the government team.
“As you can see, it was a formidable team of well experienced seven consultant pathologists that carried out the autopsy. And there was no other one other than that.”
Williams explained that Dr Adedoyin was still being held because when a court makes a pronouncement, it has to be processed and enforced
He said: “There are procedures under the law for doing this.
“We are following the procedures. The police have been duly served with the order of the court and very soon they will comply with the order and release him to go to any medical facility of his choice to take care of his urgent medical needs.
On the allegation of ritual killing levelled against Adedoyin, Williams said: “He is a very good Muslim and very hardworking. His wealth has a traceable history. He didn’t become wealthy overnight. He started from the scratch.
“From home lesson teacher to tutorial, to polytechnic and finally establishing a university. As a matter of fact, some people in Ile-Ife are still calling him ‘Tutorial’ till this day about his then ‘Universal Tutorial College’ in the 80s.”
Williams expressed sadness over the misinformation that has been in the media, especially social media, and urged the law enforcement agencies to go after the people engaging in cyber bullying, misinformation and criminal defamation.
While declaring that he was not aware whether Roheem, Chief Adedoyin’s son had been declared wanted by the police or not, he appealed to Roheem wherever he is to submit himself to the appropriate authorities so that the investigations into this case can be concluded.”