The family of the late Joel Omirenya has been thrown into confusion following the disappearance of his corpse at the Sacred Heart Hospital’s mortuary in the Lantoro area of Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Omirenya, who was a farmer, fell sick and was rushed from his residence to the hospital for prompt treatment.
While on admission at the hospital, it was learned that Omirenya succumbed to his sickness and his corpse was thereafter preserved at the hospital’s mortuary.
Speaking with our correspondent, Omirenya’s son, James, while grieving over his father’s death, said his family members had concluded plans to convey the farmer’s corpse to their hometown in Benue State when efforts to locate his corpse in the mortuary proved abortive.
He said, “On February 13, 2023, when my father fell sick, we rushed him to the Sacred Heart Hospital, Lantoro, Abeokuta, and he was placed on admission. After one week of admission, he died and we decided to deposit him at the hospital’s morgue. We paid N25,000 for the dressing and embalmment of his corpse.
“We were told the N25,000 will last for five days and afterward, we would be charged N1,000 per day for the corpse in the morgue and we agreed, paid and I was given a paper to always present whenever I come to check the corpse.
“A week later, I returned to the mortuary to check the corpse and it was there. I also visited on March 15 and it was still there. But on Friday, March 21, 2023, I called the mortuary attendant, John Olaade, that we are ready to take the body to our hometown in Benue State and that we will be bringing clothes and other things they need to dress the corpse on Sunday, so we can pick it early in the morning on Monday.”
James said Olaade said he was off duty on Sunday but demanded money to make himself available to do the dressing of the corpse overnight, adding that after agreeing to pay him, they could not find the corpse in the mortuary.
He said, “When we got to the mortuary on Sunday, he asked us to pay the outstanding hospital bill and also asked us to pay the money for making himself available into his bank account. I paid N51, 000 and after paying, I demanded to see the corpse before he started dressing it when he took us into the mortuary, we could not find my father’s corpse in the space where it was kept.
“I asked what happened and he started searching the mortuary for my father’s corpse. I also assisted in the search that commenced around 4 pm till 7 pm but we could not locate his corpse my father’s wake was already taking place at his residence in Papa, Ewekoro, Ogun State, and we have also spent N140,000 to hire an ambulance to convey the corpse to our hometown.
“That same Sunday, the hospital management came and started checking their records and contacted family members that brought and picked up their corpses from the period I saw his corpse last in the mortuary but we are yet to locate his corpse. They have been pleading that they will find the corpse.”
James said he and his uncle handed Olaade over to policemen at the Adatan Police Station and returned home to inform his family members about the discovery.
He explained that during the investigation, the police also arrested Olaade’s colleague and transferred the case to the police headquarters in Eleweran, Abeokuta.
The deceased’s widow, Rhoda, said her late husband’s corpse must be found.
“I want to see the corpse of my husband; we must find his corpse. Since I was born, I have never entered a mortuary before, but because of what happened, I had to enter inside the mortuary and was turning different corpses to search for my husband but I could not find his corpse,” she said.
The hospital’s administrator, Peter Agiator, declined comment when contacted on the telephone on Sunday.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, who confirmed the incident, said an investigation into the case was ongoing, adding that four suspects had been arrested.