In February of 2000, a 36 year old man called Charles Quansah was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, Joyce Boateng. An additional murder charge was added a few days later, that of a hairdresser called Akua Serwaa. Serwaa’s body had been found near Kumasi Sports Stadium on January 19th, 1996. The names on Quansahs charge sheet kept increasing, and he was finally accused of killing 34 women.
All the victims had been found facing upward with their legs widely opened. There was clear evidence of rape, including a discarded condom near the victims body. Police started looking at there suspect, who had a history. In 1986, Quansah had been jailed for rape. After his release, he raped another woman and was jailed again.
Prior to his arrest in 2000, he had been serving a jail sentence for robbery. The story of the Kumasi Rapist seemed to have finally ended with the apprehension of a man who had both history and the motives to kill. But that was not the end. There were 21 murders of young women in and around Accra in 1999. Four more were killed in the first half of 2000, with two of them being found within one week of each other and outside Mataheko, the primary dumping site of the most of the first murders.
Quansah’s arrest followed this outcry and in public, the police said that he confessed to nine other murders but they only charged him with one initially, and then added ten more. The most damning evidence that Quansah was most likely not the killer was that the killings continued after his arrest. By December 2000, the murders had reached a total of 31. Being an election year, the serial murders became a primary political issue, leading to the voting out of the Interior Minister and his deputy.
The presidential candidate John Kufuor made it a primary issue when he made finding the killer a plank in his 2000 election campaign. Three years after the fact, the former president Jerry Rawling’s sensationally claimed that more than ten ministers in John Kufuor’s cabinet had been involved in the murders which now totaled 34. He never specified or clarified his claim. For Quansah, only three of the charges seemed to have anything to do with him. The real serial killers might never be known.
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