Lead Medical Doctor of the forensic team that conducted DNA analysis on the skeletal remains of the four Takoradi Girls Superintendent Dr. Kofi Agyapong Afrifa has defended the conclusion of their report that there is a genetic relationship between the remains and parents of the victims.
"Our DNA analysis concluded that the skeletal remains found are that of the four missing Takoradi Girls," he insisted.
He told the Justice Richard Adjei Frimpong court in Sekondi that the team used the Standard Tandem Repeat [STR] Method, which conforms to all standard DNA analysis protocols there are, to arrive at the conclusion that indeed the skeletal remains are that of the four Takoradi Girls.
Supt. Dr. Agyepong Afrifa gave the defense after both counsels for the two Nigerians accused of murdering the missing four Takoradi Girls had cast doubt on the DNA conclusion on the four missing Takoradi Girls in a cross-examination that lasted close to two hours on Thursday, October 22, when the case was called.
Giving his evidence-in-chief, Supt. Dr. Agyapong Afrifa told the court that the team subjected all samples taken from both the skeletal remains and that of the parents of the four victims to rigorous analysis and have no shred of doubt about the conclusions of their report.
"…we took DNA samples from four skulls from the Ghana Police Hospital Morgue. We then proceeded to take buccal swaps from the alleged parents and siblings of the four victims. After our analysis, we found out that for the Koranchie family Alexander Kofi Koranchie who is the alleged father of missing Priscilla Mantebea Koranchie shares common allele with Skull 4 at all loci tested. The probability of stated relationship which is the Combined Paternity Index (CPI) is 25767.9834. Paternity probability is 99.99 percent. And for the Abekah family, we found out that Cecilia Owusu who is the alleged mother of missing Ruth Abekah shares common allele with Skull 3 at all loci tested. The probability of stated relationship which is the Combined Maternity Index (CMI) is 202552413.7053 and probability of maternity is 99.99 percent.
He continued: "For the Quayson family, we found out that Comfort Arhin who is the alleged mother of missing Ruthlove Quayson shares common allele with Skull 1 at all loci tested. That the probability of stated relationship which is the Combined Maternity Index (CMI) is 53160961.519 and probability of maternity is 99.99 percent. And for the Bentum family, we found out that Francis Bentum Ackon who is the father of missing Priscilla Blessing Bentum and Gladys Bentum mother of the missing Priscilla Blessing Bentum share common allele with Skull 2 at all loci tested. That the probability of stated relationship which is Combined Paternity Index (CPI) is 1293669.4766 and Combined Maternity (CMI) is 11703487616.3591. Probability of paternity and maternity is 99.99 percent.
He concluded: "Skull 1 cannot be excluded as the biological daughter of Madam Comfort Arhin. Skull 2 cannot be excluded as the biological daughter of Mr. Francis Bentum Ackon and Madam Gladys Bentum. Skull 3 cannot be excluded as the biological daughter of Madam Cecilia Owusu and Skull 4 cannot be excluded as the biological daughter of Mr. Alexander Kojo Koranchie".
When asked by a Counsel for the defence team, Mark Bosiah, whether the team could have used another method for the DNA analysis, Supt. Dr. Agyepong Afrifa answered in the affirmative and explained that another method the team could have used is the Next Generation Sequencing.
However, he indicated that the Next Generation Sequencing is still at the developing stage and insisted that the standard procedure – STR – is what the team used.
"Even if that methodology, Next Generation Sequencing is used, the results will still be the same," he asserted.
Counsel for Samuel Wills George Essiful-Ansah expressed disappointment that the DNA conclusion failed to capture whether the skeletal remains were as old as the time that they were reported to have died.
"I even gave the clue that given the date that they were supposed to have got missing…they must be able to tell that these bones, how old are they. That would have been very material." he said