Read Murder at Cape Three Points Online

Authors: Kwei Quartey

Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #International Mystery & Crime, #African American, #Police Procedural

Murder at Cape Three Points (4 page)

BOOK: Murder at Cape Three Points
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Dawson had spent time with Hosiah at the hospital, he rode his aging motorbike to CID Headquarters on Ring Road East. It was a seven-story, ailing building the color of dirty sand. It looked no more significant than an old apartment building. Its appearance didn’t match its impressive name,
Criminal Investigations Department.

Except for the ground floor charge office where a certain amount of chaos was standard, CID was quiet on the weekends. Dawson took the narrow stairway to the fourth floor where he let himself into the detective’s room, greeting the only other person there, a detective sergeant preparing for a big court case on Monday.

On most days, the room was stifling, but today a soft breeze came through the louvered windows on either side. Only senior officers, assistant superintendent, and above, got air-conditioned rooms. Junior ones, from constable to chief inspector, did not. If Dawson ever wanted to have the high privilege of an air-conditioned room one day, he was going to have to knuckle down, comply with Lartey’s orders and solve this case.

He sat at his desk to examine the Smith-Aidoos’ case docket, whose front cover was the standard appearance of all such police records.


Date of offense
Monday, 9 July/Tuesday, 10 July

Sapphire, Smith-Aidoo, MD

Principal Witness(es)

Sapphire, Smith-Aidoo, MD
George Findlay (Offshore Oil Installation Manager, Malgam)
Michael Glagah (Safety Officer, Malgam Oil)
Clifford Stewart (Crane Operator, Malgam Oil)
Ghana Navy Service personnel

Accused __________


Charles Smith-Aidoo, Fiona Smith-Aidoo

He opened the folder and flinched. Front and center was a printed image of Charles Smith-Aidoo’s severed head stuck to the end of a gnarled, wooden pole like a gruesome lollipop. It looked both real and unreal, like a botched waxworks beginning to swell up and melt in the heat. The mouth gaped. The left eye was partially open, and the right eye had been removed. Dawson imagined the murderer holding the head firmly while pressing and screwing it down onto the erected stake. He shuddered and began to feel nauseated. Cutting off a person’s limbs was vile, but decapitation crossed a line into a realm of brutality that he could not understand.

Charles’s headless body had been propped up against one side of the canoe’s interior, dark irregular bloodstains around the neckline of his shirt. The murderer seemed to have mounted a display for maximum, sickening impact. Fiona Smith-Aidoo’s body was stretched along the floor of the canoe behind her husband’s. It appeared crumpled, more carelessly thrown—less staged than his.

Dawson had to stop looking at the photo. In his last case, a serial killer had disfigured his adolescent victims, but there, it had been the number killed that defined the horror. None of the individual victims had been inflicted with this degree of cruelty.

With relief, he turned to the next page, which was Dr. Smith-Aidoo’s petition.

11th October

Dear Director General
It has now been almost four months since the death of my beloved aunt and uncle, Fiona and Charles Smith-Aidoo. Their loved ones, including me, are still in a state of shock and profound grief. As you are aware, they were shot to death in cold blood in July of this year. In addition, my uncle was savagely beheaded. The crime unit at Sekondi police headquarters, led by Superintendent David Hammond, has been unable to apprehend the perpetrator and bring him to justice. I hereby request CID headquarters to please review the case for any deficiencies in the investigation by the Sekondi detectives and either assist them or assume the investigation completely so that my dear aunt and uncle can finally rest in peace.
Yours faithfully
Sapphire Smith-Aidoo, MD

Petitions to CID Headquarters could come from several sources; any citizen had the right to make a request for case review if he or she was unhappy with the investigation by a regional CID office. Not all requests had merit, however, and sometimes the assessment was that the region was doing just fine. The director general of CID made the final decision.

On the docket’s second page, Superintendent David Hammond had written a brief summary of events.

On the morning of Monday, 7th July, Charles Smith-Aidoo and wife, Fiona, traveled from Axim to Ezile Bay, a small resort area 8 km east of Cape Three Points, where they visited the owner of the resort, Mr. Reggie Cardiman. The purpose of the visit was business, which concluded at approximately 12:30
. The Smith-Aidoos left Ezile Bay at that time, reportedly to continue on to Axim.
At 13:25, Mr. Cardiman was on the way to Takoradi when he came across the Smith-Aidoos’ vehicle abandoned along the only road available to and from Ezile Bay (see attached Dixcove Police Diary of Action Taken). A search of the area yielded no clues as to their whereabouts.
At approximately 05:50 on Tuesday, 9th July, a small canoe bearing the corpses of Charles and Fiona Smith-Aidoo appeared at sea 60 km from Cape Three Points near the Malgam oil rig. Both had sustained gunshots to the head. Additionally, Mr. Smith-Aidoo was in a decapitated state.
The Ghana Navy Service (GNS) retrieved the canoe and transported it to shore, delivering the dead bodies to Effia-Nkwanta Hospital for identification and autopsy.
Dr. Sapphire Smith-Aidoo, the dead couple’s niece, and her father, Brian Smith-Aidoo (Charles Smith-Aidoo’s brother), identified the bodies at the hospital mortuary.
Dawson went on to the next section.
Police Report
Dixcove Police Station
Diary of Action Taken
Date of Report
Monday, 7 July
Date of Incident
Monday, 7 July
Reporting Officer
Inspector Nana French
At 13:35 on Monday, 7 July, one Reggie Cardiman, owner of the Ezile Beach Resort, whom I know very well, called me on my cell phone to report that he was standing near a black Hyundai Santa Fe SUV with license registration WR-CSA-1 parked at the roadside about 9 km from the resort. The vehicle had its front doors wide open, but no driver or passenger was inside. Mr. Cardiman stated he had been on his way from the resort to Takoradi when he observed the vehicle. He further stated that he believed the vehicle belonged to one Mr. Charles Smith-Aidoo of Takoradi and his wife, Fiona. Mr. Cardiman stated that Mr. and Mrs. Smith-Aidoo had paid him a visit at the Ezile Bay during the morning of that same day and had eaten lunch in the restaurant there, leaving at approximately 12:30.
When asked how he was so certain that the Hyundai belonged to the Smith-Aidoos, Mr. Cardiman stated that he was familiar with Mr. Smith-Aidoo’s personalized license plate bearing his initials, CSA. Mr. Cardiman stated he had stopped to look inside the vehicle when he came upon it at the roadside, but saw no sign of any driver or passenger. He further said that he had searched around the area including some of the roadside bushes but had not come across any person or persons. He then decided to report the incident to the police.
I asked Mr. Cardiman if he could please remain at the scene until my arrival. At 14:10, I took a taxi to the location, arriving at almost 14:45 to find Mr. Cardiman waiting by the Hyundai vehicle, which Mr. Cardiman stated had remained undisturbed during the interval in which I had been traveling from the police station. I proceeded to examine the exterior and interior of the vehicle. I found no signs of damage to the vehicle. I also did not find any evidence of struggle or foul play inside the vehicle. I searched the surrounding areas of the bush. I was not able to find anyone associated with the vehicle.

Dawson went next to the forensic report by a Dr. Hector Cudjoe, a pathologist at Effia-Nkwanta Hospital, Takoradi’s largest hospital.

Seventh of July was the official date of death, but the time of death was a broader estimate of between 12:00 (noon) and 22:00 hours based on the degree of decay, which was not advanced.

Dawson looked at Charles’s autopsy first. He had been fifty-two years old when he died.

Body: The body of an adult male arrives at the morgue in a bag in a decapitated state with the wrists tied behind the back with coarse twine. The severed head is also present. The body is clad in a cream-colored, heavily bloodstained tailored tunic with matching zipped trousers, a white, heavily bloodstained singlet, and white underpants. There are no socks or shoes. A gold ring is present on the left fourth finger. There are no other jewelry items.
Beach-consistency sand diffusely covers the right side and the posterior portion of the shirt. Clothing is also diffusely stained with dark material that might have originated from the bottom of the canoe in which the body was discovered. Limbs, torso, and genitals are intact.
Head: It has been removed in toto by sharp dissection at approximately the 6th cervical vertebral level. The right eyeball is absent, having been removed by sharp excision, and is not present among the remains brought to the morgue. This corresponds to a witness report and a photograph at the scene showing the enucleation on the right side. However, the left eyeball is intact. The victim’s tongue has also been removed by sharp excision and is not recovered from the remains. Recovered from the victim’s oral cavity is a bloodstained, old-fashioned pocket watch with a tarnished silver cover inlaid with a circular dark center that is most likely black onyx. On the inside of the cover is a crudely scratched message stating, “Blood runs deep,” which appears to have been made recently, certainly within the last one month.

Dawson’s eyes narrowed. Why the old watch, and what did the inscription “blood runs deep” mean? Along with the decapitation and the enucleation, it was simply extraordinary. He read on.

Male victim, Charles Smith-Aidoo: A 0.5 cm gunshot entrance wound is present at the left temporal region 4 cm anterior to the superior portion of the helix of the left ear. Abrasions are present at the edges of the wound. Noted is a zone of soot measuring 2.5 × 2.0 cm in greatest dimension around the entrance wound. Patchy hemorrhage is observed in the tissues of the scalp and the skull in the temporal area. Extensive subarachnoid hemorrhage exists, with severe damage to the bases of the brain. Lodged in and recovered from the right ear canal is a copper-jacketed small caliber bullet. The direction of the wound track is rightward, backward, and downward.

Soot around the bullet wound signified discharge of the weapon at close range. Dawson pictured it. Maybe the murderer had made Charles kneel, gun muzzle pressed to his temple as Charles begged for
mercy. It was a disturbing image, but the decapitation was even more disturbing. Dawson tried to read the graphic details of the severed arteries in the neck and the hacked cervical vertebrae, but he began to feel sick and stopped.

Warily, he turned to Fiona’s details. She, too, was bound at the wrists behind her back. Her outfit was purple and pink with pink undergarments. Beach sand had soiled the clothing of both victims, suggesting that the perpetrator(s) had dragged both of them along the sand for some unknown distance. The pathologist’s report also noted:
A large silver hoop earring hangs from the lobe of the right ear, but no corresponding earring on the left is present.

She had sustained a gunshot wound to the right temple. The bullet had tracked across her brain to shatter the left cheekbone, where it had emerged. No bullet or fragments were present, nor did the report mention whether or not gunpowder stippling accompanied the entry wound. Had there been none, or had Dr. Cudjoe inadvertently omitted that detail? He had indicated the wounds on the standard schematic drawings always provided on a postmortem form. Photographs were not included with the documents, which was common. Most of the time, no camera was available, and in any case, the mortuary personnel, including the forensic pathologist, often took photos at a bad angle or in poor light.

Next to the name
George Findlay, Offshore Oil Installation Manager
, a telephone number had been circled, with a red arrow pointing to it. Dawson had no idea what an oil installation manager was. He was about to find out.

Chapter 4

BOOK: Murder at Cape Three Points
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