On the 21st of September, 2001, the torso of a young boy was discovered in the River Thames, close to the Tower Bridge, in London.
The torso, which belongs to an unidentified black male between the ages of 4-8 years old, has been dubbed “Adam” by investigators. He was also wearing orange girls’ shorts.
The autopsy revealed that Adam had been poisoned and that his throat had been slit to drain the blood from his body. His limbs had been removed with expert precision.
Further forensic tests revealed that Adam had only been in the UK for a few days or weeks before he was killed and that he most likely came from a region of Southwestern Nigeria close to Benin City, which is also known as the birthplace of Voodoo.
This evidence led police to believe that Adam had been trafficked to the UK to be used specifically for a “muti sacrifice killing.” This type of sacrifice is performed by witch doctors who use a child’s body parts to make medicinal potions called “muti”.
Adam was never matched to any missing person databases from England or Europe, and public appeals for information were buried beneath the news coverage of the 9/11 Twin Tower attacks in New York.
In 2002, London officials flew to Johannesburg, South Africa, where Nelson Mandela made a public appeal for any information that might be able to help the police identify Adam. Nelson’s appeal was also translated into tribal languages, including Yoruba, the language that is local in the region Adam was linked to.
In 2003, police worked with muthi experts of the South African Police Department who believed that because the shorts are orange, at least one of the killers was related to Adam. The reason they believed this is because, in muti rituals, the colour red is the colour of resurrection, suggesting that one of Adam’s killers was trying to apologise to his soul, and praying that he might rise again.
In Glasgow, social workers became concerned for two girls who were living with their mother, an African woman in her early 30s, as council workers had found ritualistic objects in their home. The court ordered that the children should be taken out of her care, and the woman, Joyce Osagiede, began telling stories of cults, killings and sacrifices.
The homicide unit searched Joyce’s house and found clothes that matched the same brand, “Kids & Company”, and in the same sizes as Adams shorts. This led to Joyce being arrested.
Officers interviewed Joyce whilst she waiting to hear if she had been granted asylum, but she claimed that she didn’t know anything about Adam.
In November 2002, Joyce was deported back to Nigeria. She flew on a private jet with Detective Inspector Will O’Reilly, with the hopes that she might open up, but she didn’t. Once back in Nigeria, Joyce disappeared.
Shortly after, German police confirmed that Joyce had actually lived in Hamburg until 2001, which is where the shorts that were found on Adam’s body were brought.
During her time in England, police learnt that she only had 2 contacts on her mobile phone. One of these contacts was for a man named Mousa Kamara, real name Kingsley Ojo. When police searched his house, they found an animal skull pierced with a nail, small packets of what seemed to be sand or earth, and a videotape named “Rituals” – a drama which involved an adult being beheaded.
Despite this, there was no physical evidence that connected Ojo to Adam’s murder. However, there was evidence that he was involved in trafficking, and was released on bail and placed under surveillance.
In July 2003, Ojo was arrested for trafficking, and in July 2004 he was sentenced to 4 years in jail with the recommendation that he should be deported after serving his time.
In 2005, Ojo offered the police help in order to catch the killer and clear his own name. He told police that he had recordings of Joyce by his associates back in Nigeria.
By late 2005, Ojo was back living in East London, supposedly assisting in the enquiry.
For over two years, Ojo fed police information – at one point saying that Joyce was going to return to the UK, which turned out to be false.
In 2008, Detectives believed that they could no longer rely on Ojo, so he was deported back to Nigeria.
Whilst in Nigeria, police spoke to Joyce, who confirms that she did look after “Adam” whilst living in Germany and that she did buy the orange shorts that were found on his body, but she then disappeared again.
The case went cold for several years, until in 2011, whilst searching through Joyce’s belongings that she left in Germany, they found a photo of a young boy looking directly at the camera which was dated 2001.
The photo was then given to ITV News, who tried to track down Joyce, and they successfully managed to interview her.
Joyce claimed that the boy in the photo was really called Ikpomwosa and that she had looked after the boy but then given him to a man called Bawa. However, detectives were never able to confirm this or positively identify the boy in the photo and Adam.
In 2012, Joyce’s brother contacted BBC News and said that there had been a misunderstanding; the boy in the photo was not Adam or Ikpomwosa, and they wanted to contact the news to get their story straight.
Joyce told BBC News that the boy in the photo was actually called Danny, who BBC managed to track down in Hamburg, and suggested that the boy named “Adam” may actually be called Patrick Erhabor – something that has not been able to be verified. Joyce did seem happy to speak to BBC News, but at times she was a little confused which is understandable as she is known to have suffered from mental health issues.
Joyce also identified a photo of Ojo as “Bawa”, the man she said she had given Adam to in Germany in 2001.
BBC did manage to track down Ojo in Nigeria, he refused to meet but spoke to them over the phone. Ojo denies having any involvement in Adam’s murder, and there is no evidence linking him to the murder.
Sadly, Joyce passed away in 2013.
As of 2022, the true identity of Adam, and his killers, remain unsolved. Police are still working hard to solve this case, and in 2021 issues a new public appeal asking the public to “be bold” and come forward with any information they think might help.
Unsolved, Murder, Child, UK, True Crime, Investigation, Homicide