The family of 22-year-old Precious Naza Onyenanu, a graduate of Education/Economics from the Imo State University, has been thrown into mourning and tears after she was allegedly butchered by her fiance, Ephraim Isom, a 27-year-old graduate of Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RUST), in a hotel room in Rukpokwu area of Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, the Sun Newspaper reports.
According to the report, the young lady who hailed from Isu, in Isu Local Government Area of Imo State, was stabbed several times by Isom in the hotel room they lodged in.
Narrating the incident to reports, the bereaved father, Innocent Eze Onyenanu, Precious had taken permission from him to go and visit her elder sister, Ezinne Blessing Godswill, and spend the last Christmas with her family, not knowing she was keeping a date with death because instead of going to stay with he sister, she elected to spend the Yuletide with a man who had proposed marriage to her in the Garden City.
She left home on December 5, 2015 and that was the last time she was seen alive by her family and loved ones.
Unknown to her, Isom had been secretly nursing an evil plan against her, and looking for an opportunity to execute it. Pretending that all was well, the suspect booked a room in the hotel on the fateful day and left after calling her to tell her the name of the hotel and the room number, promising her he would be with her shortly, but he came back, he butchered her in the gruesome manner.
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“On Saturday, December 5, 2015, I sent my daughter to Port Harcourt, to bring her sister from Port Harcourt, to Imo State. She left Owerri about 7am. About 12.30, I tried to call her on the phone, to know if she got to Port Harcourt safely, but her phone was switched off. I tried all through the night, but the call did not go through.
About 12:30, the following day, Sunday, December 6, 2015, the phone rang and it was a male voice that spoke. Just before I could ask him about the owner of the handset, he quickly switched off.”
Disturbed at the turn of events, the father concluded that his daughter had been kidnapped and rushed to the Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the Imo State Police Command, Owerri, where he lodged a complaint.
The following day, he went back to the Command the following for necessary documentation and Precious was declared missing by the police. The Imo State Police Command was said to have investigated the case throughout the week, but all efforts to unravel the mystery surrounding the sudden disappearance of the girl proved abortive.
But on Monday, December 14, while at the Imo Police Command, the distraught father said he received a phone call from his brother-in-law living in Port Harcourt, Ifeanyi Nmezi, who told him to rush to Port Harcourt, adding that his daughter had been murdered.
Onyenanu went to Port Harcourt and joined his other daughter, Ezinne, at the Homicide Section, where she had already written a statement in respect of the murdered Precious.
The police detectives in Port Harcourt then took over the case and in the course of the investigation, operatives attached to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Rivers State Police Command, approached one of the GSM service providers and obtained the call log with a view to knowing the last person she communicated with before her gruesome murder.
With the information provided by the GSM network company, the police identified the person who spoke to Precious last and also sent a Short Message Service, SMS to her, describing the bus stop where she should alight and the name of the hotel where they would lodge.
The policemen later traced the suspect, arrested and detained him. After initial interrogation, the detectives took the detained suspect the following day to his house where they conducted a search. And in his house, two handsets belonging to the victim were found.
“When the police found the two handsets, I was invited to come for identification. It was our housemaid, Chiamaka, who knows the handsets used by my daughter that identified the phones.
But Ephraim had deleted all the contacts in the handsets, which he also claimed belonged to him. To further confirm the real owner of the handsets, the police took them to the service provider, who restored the deleted contacts and call log.
It was after the contacts were restored that the police saw the SMS Ephraim sent to my daughter, telling her the bus stop to alight at Rukpokwu.”
According to the account of the management of the hotel, the suspect came to book a room on the fateful day at 7am. After paying, he locked it up and went away with the key. About 10am, he came back in the company of Precious.
“After sometime, two of them went out and later came back, holding food in take-away packs they bought from one of the eateries,” a staff of the hotel narrated to Sun.
It was also gathered that after sometime, the suspect went out again without Precious. But the director of the hotel felt uncomfortable and suspicious of the movement of the man. He asked him if he was checking out and also asked about the girl he took into the room he had booked.
But Ephraim lied to him, claiming that Precious was sleeping, and added that he wanted to buy something and then come back soon.
“Not satisfied with his response, the director asked the manager to call the suspect back. But he (Ephraim) was able to play a fast one on the manager and disappeared. He never came back to the hotel again,” the hotel staff continued.
When the hotel workers went to knock on the door of the room, there was no response. After banging on the door repeatedly without any response, they peeped through a hole and saw the victim’s lifeless body on the bed, wrapped with bed sheet and in a pool of blood.
Ephraim Isom and Precious when the going was good
Photo Credit: The Sun Newspaper
It was after the discovery that the management of the hotel reported the matter to a nearby police station. A team of policemen went to the hotel, forced the door open and removed the body to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) mortuary.
According to Onyenanu, Precious, who was the last but one child in the family lacked nothing as her elderly ones and parents, provided for her needs.
“I don’t know how her mother will survive this tragedy; they were too close. Out of my 14 children, she was the 13th. I have two wives. The older children pampered her a lot because of her good character and beauty. My daughter was very beautiful and fashionable. Anybody that came in contact with her liked her.
I don’t know if she and Ephraim had a quarrel that would make him to murder her. Also, who knows whether my daughter told him about her plans to travel to UK this year for her master’s degree programme?
I’m calling on the Federal Government, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, women lawyers, human rights activists, to come to my aid. All I want is justice,” the grieving father concluded.