6 December 2018

Liberia: Twist in AB Roberts Funeral Home Saga

The late Betty Bargue's widower, David Bargue, at his residence

Widower accuses brother-in-law of misplacing wife's body

Though he is in custody for allegations linking him to a secret and late night burial of dead bodies in Caldwell, Montserrado County, Abraham Roberts, proprietor of the AB Roberts funeral home in Gardnersville, has questions to answer on the mysterious disappearance of the body of Betty Bargue.

Mrs. Betty Bargue died at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, following a period of illness, according to family sources. The Daily Observer yesterday visited the deceased family and was informed by her surviving husband, David Z. Bargue, that her body is yet to be traced at the AB Robert Funeral Home where it was said to have been taken to be embalmed.

Mr. Bargue explained that upon realizing that his wife had passed away, he immediately contacted his brother-in-law, who resides in the United States, and was asked to deposit her remains at a funeral home pending a meeting among family members to plan for her burial.

"Another brother-in-law, Sammy Taye Mentee, was called and he recommended AB Roberts Funeral Home. He told us that he has friends at the funeral home, and so we needed not to worry about paying a huge sum of money for the body of my wife to be embalmed," he said.

He said when Mentee called for the funeral home to take charge of the remains of Betty, a hearse (vehicle used to carry the dead in a coffin) arrived at his Pipeline residence in Paynesville, and took the corpse. He said he was advised not to follow the hearse since he was in tears and would not have been able to control himself at the funeral parlor.

"Mentee and I did not follow the people immediately. He asked us to be relaxed because he knew the people, and that they were truly from AB Roberts Funeral Home. He promised to follow later, but it is unclear as to whether he followed the guys as he was supposed to," Bargue said.

He said his son Martin Bargue wanted to follow the hearse, but Mentee again said there was no need for either of them or someone else from that house to follow, since he was going to be present at discussions relating to the embalming the body.

"Later on Mentee came back and informed us that the funeral parlor was charging US$470 to embalm the body for one week, and we agreed to pay the money," he said.

Bargue added, "frustratingly, when Mentee received the money from us, we could not hear from him for several days until lately when he came back with a receipt bearing the amount of US$475."

He said when the time came for the family to bring the body for a night of wake keeping, the body was not found at the vault of the AB Roberts Funeral Home, even though there was an intensive search launched.

"We were later informed by AB Roberts, that he did not have in his records information about the remains of my wife. In fact, when we showed Mr. Roberts the receipt Mentee gave us, he condemned it and said the signature on the receipt was not his, and that the amount of US$475 was not paid to embalm the body," Bargue further said.

He said AB Roberts acknowledged seeing US$250 registered to embalm the body, with US$220 being the balance expected to be paid before they collect the body.

According to Bargue, Mr. Roberts said he was going to investigate how the receipt was prepared. He said legal action awaits Mentee if the remains of his wife are not found for burial. Mr. Roberts could meanwhile not be reached because he is in police custody answering questions relative to alleged secret burials.

When contacted via mobile phone, Sammytaye Mentee said his brother-in-law, David Bargue, is misinforming the public. He said the body of his sister is at AB Roberts Funeral Home, though it has been there for several weeks.

"When we went for the body, the people displayed it for us to take it, but he continued to argue that the body was not that of my late sister; but in truth, that body is my sister's remains," Mentee said.

According to him, Mr. Bargue's point that the late Betty had a sore on her leg was of no significance. He said the chemicals used on the body changed everything about the physical look of Betty's remains.

"On two different occasions, they called police on me and each time we went there with her picture, I was let go due to the clear similarity between the body and the picture," he alleged.

Mentee said Bargue has no reason to drag receipt issue into the matter since that is not the real case he is after.

Authors

David S. Menjor

Liberia

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