The gruesome murder of Maria: Here is what we know

Written by Saja

Maria

The life of Maria Mendy was cut cruelly short last week in Busumbala. She was murdered and her private part removed for alleged ritual purposes.  

Here is what we know: 

The crime scene 

A Grade 12 student at St Peter's Technical Senior Secondary School, Maria's murder sent shockwaves throughout The Gambia.  

Shortly after her body was found in a pool of blood in her home in Busumbala with her private part removed, police announced she was killed during an attempted rape. Her suspected killer, Zilson Gomez was found dead hanging inside a well.  

Although there were widespread rumours that there was no attempted rape, police are yet to ascertain whether Maria's private part was removed and taken away for ritual purposes. 

Some insiders at the Police Headquarters in Banjul described it as one of the most violent crimes in Gambian history. 

Prime suspect: Zilson Gomez 

Police made Zilson Gomez, a Guinea Bissauan national, the prime suspect. He was found dead hanging inside a well.  

But photos of his dead body that emerged online raised many questions about whether he killed himself as announced by Police.  

Oxford-trained Gambian lawyer, Melville Roberts wrote on Facebook: "I am watching with excruciatingly painful agony how cynical and confused our society is. We all jumping like limping frogs running around making false accusations whilst(maybe) the actual perpetrator may even be joining in the solidarity campaign with the alleged victim on social media or was even a bystander taking photos and also propelling the false narrative of an alleged rape that led to two gruesome murders that left behind a nasty crime scene." 

Melville argued he wasn't convinced that Zilson took his own life. According to him, the Guinea Bissauan's dead body shown "no bulging eyes, no tongue sticking out, no wound on his neck due to the rope that was tied around his neck." 

One of his followers, Ismaila Jammeh commented: "I got the feeling that they were both attacked but Allahu knows the best." 

If Zilson is innocent, who killed Maria? 

According to Police PRO Superintendent Lamin Njie, they are expanding their investigations into the brutal murder of Maria.  

“We are not leaving out or ruling out anything. A full panel has been set up to look into this and all information received will be diligently analysed in search of a lead and solving the crime. All details of the crime scene have been taken and recorded,” he said. 

Superintendent Njie added: ”Unlike the public and the media, the police cannot engage in speculation. We will have to come out with tangible evidence or credible lead to discount or confirm any theory”.