The police command in Lagos State has confirmed that the death of 12-year-old Dowen College’s student, Master Sylvester Oromoni Jnr., is from natural causes.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Hakeem Odumosu, confirmed this while addressing journalists at the command’s headquarters in Ikeja.
Odumosu noted that the case had attracted reactions from different quarters, with some parents insinuating a cover-up.
He said that the reactions and insinuations necessitated the clarification.
Odumosu said that five students and three house masters of Dowen College were released following autopsy results which showed that they were not culpable.
He said that all the parties in the case, including the deceased’s family, the school management and witnesses, were interviewed by him at the headquarters.
“During the open interview, it was unanimously agreed that another autopsy should be carried out where pathologists from all parties would be present.
“Investigation was extended to Delta State and Abuja.
“Gentlemen of the press, I will like to state here that investigation revealed that same case was reported at Area Command, Warri, Delta State, on Dec. 1, 2021.
“It has also been established that a post mortem examination was initially carried out on Dec. 22, 2021, by a Consultant Pathologist, Dr Clement Vhriterhire of the Central Hospital, Warri.
“The result of the first autopsy dated Dec. 10, 2021, attributed the cause of death to ‘acute lung injury due to chemical intoxication in a background of blunt force trauma’.
“However, toxicology screening was recommended and also carried out.
“While waiting for the result of the toxicology, another autopsy was ordered by the Coroner Magistrate in Lagos because of the status of jurisdiction.
“The corpse was, therefore, moved with armed police escorts from Delta State to Lagos State by TOS Funeral, and the autopsy conducted at the expense of the Lagos State Government.
“The second autopsy was carried out at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital on Dec. 14, 2021, in the presence of representatives of all the parties involved in the case,” he said.
Odumosu said the result of the second autopsy carried out in Lagos was released on Dec. 21, 2021, and that the result attributed the cause of the death to septicaemia, lobar pneumonia with acute pyelonephritis and pyomyositis of the right ankle.
“On Dec. 30, 2021, the toxicology screening result of the first autopsy carried out in Warri was released.
“The result issued and signed by Dr Clement Vhriterhire, same doctor who carried out the initial autopsy, attributed the cause of the death to ‘acute bacterial pneumonia due to severe sepsis’.
“At the end of diligent investigation carried out so far, there is no evidence to establish a case of torture, bullying and forceful application of poisonous substance against the suspects.
“All the suspects denied the allegations of torture, bullying and administering of poisonous substance to the deceased,” the commissioner of police said.
He said that an allegation that the deceased was being forced to join a cult group was not established as other students interviewed denied it.
According to him, final results of the post mortem and toxicology examination conducted both at Warri and in Lagos agreed that the deceased died naturally.
“For purpose of clarification, it is pertinent to convey to members of the public, in simple terms, the commentary/submission of Dr S. S. Soyemi, Consultant pathologist who led a team of pathologists to carry out the autopsy, thus:
‘Sylvester Oromoni Jnr., a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos, reportedly died on Nov. 30, 2021, at a private hospital in Warri, Delta State.
‘It was alleged that the deceased was physically assaulted and poisoned in the school prior to death.
‘The first autopsy was done in Warri on Dec. 2, 2021. Following an order for a second autopsy, the body of the deceased was brought to Lagos for a second autopsy.
‘Our findings at the second autopsy include marked pallor of organs, pneumonia (infection of the lungs), infections of the liver and kidneys as well as the heart.
‘These infections emanated from the ankle infection described earlier in the report. Microscopic sections also confirmed these findings.
‘Death was caused by Septicaemia following infections of the lungs and kidneys arising from the ankle wound.
‘No evidence of blunt force trauma in this body. The findings in the oesophagus and stomach are not compatible with chemical intoxication. Death in this case is natural’.”
Odumosu, who was recently promoted to an Assistant Inspector-General (AIG), said the case file was duplicated and sent to Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for advice.
He said the legal advice indicated that there was no prima facie case of murder, involuntary manslaughter and/or malicious administering of poison with intent to harm, against the students and the house masters; hence, they could not be prosecuted.
“They were all released on bail. The final result of the autopsy and DPP advice were officially released by the state government earlier in the week,” Odumosu said.
He commiserated with the bereaved family and advised individuals and groups still aggrieved to seek redress in court.