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The Sinoe Ritualistic Murder Case

The victim: Princelet Hilton Teah

The hanging of the convicted ritual murderers in Maryland County did not deter a group of people of committing the same crime a few months later. This time it happened in Sinoe County, in July 1979. Also in this case some big names were involved and eventually several high-ranking public officials were arrested and put on trial. 

Click to supersizeIn July, 1979 the mutilated body of 29-year high school student Princelet Hilton Teah was found lying on the Poor River beach. His relatives only identified the deceased by his shoes and socks. Among the suspects were one Mr. Sammy Harris, who lived close to the place where the body was found, and Joseph Frazier, a prophet. A few weeks later, police in Greenville, Sinoe County, arrested them and two others. National newspapers started paying attention to this new case of ritual murder (The Liberian Inaugural, August 13, 1979). 

Joseph Frazier, who apparently was the Chief "Boyo" - as these ritual killers are called in Liberia - admitted partaking in the killing of Hilton Tiah (the victim's name is variously spelled as Tiah or Teah). Frazier also named 12 others including some high-ups as having hired him (Bentol Times, August 29, 1979). Subsequently, two other suspects, Mr. Isaac N. Clarke and Mr. Allen Smith, also confessed and named several of the (alleged) killers.

At the end of the month more details emerged.

On August 30, 1979, the newspaper 'Scope' reported:

Click to supersize "Man Hypnotized and Murdered". The story reads: "A man called Tieh, whose body was found on the shores of the sea in Greenville, Sinoe County, recently, was first hypnotized and then murdered, according to one of the suspects detained by Police for interrogation in connection with this grizzly incident.

Tieh's body was discovered on the Greenville shore on Independence Day (July 26, 1978) (The year cited obviously is a typing error - FVDK). He was murdered on July 23. The body was mutilated with many parts missing, including an eye, the left arm and ribs, intestines, a tooth and the muscles and flesh of both ties. His body was thrown into the Po River after the mutilation. The river emptied the body into the sea, which rejected it by pushing it back on the shores behind the home of one of the suspects. Police believe the murderers used axes, cutlasses and other sharp instruments as indicated by the deceased bones. His hair was cut low. Tieh's mutilated body was recognized by his relatives who remembered the shoes and pants he had on when he left home before he was murdered. 

Investigators strongly believe that Tieh's murder case could prove to have more criminal magnitude than the Moses Tweh murder case in Maryland County, which led to the execution of seven persons in February this year. More shocking details are expected as the able investigators, who have several suspects detained with names not disclosed, continue their job in Sinoe. Some big names might be linked to the crime." (Scope, August 30, 1979, p.12). 

At the end of September 1979, the number of arrests had risen to 15. New revelations and confessions were made public - related to previous ritual murders in the Greenville area: "Confirmed reports from our sources revealed that almost all the principal suspects in the case have opened their guard and have revealed further names as being connected with not only the impending Hilton Tiah case, but many others that might have occurred in the past in Sinoe, particularly in the Greenville area." (Bentol Times, September 26, 1979). 

'Big shots' arrested

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