Authorities in Liberia have arrested an American missionary on suspicion of attempted murder after he allegedly tried to slit the throat of his Liberian wife.
According to the Daily Observer, the suspect, identified as Lucas Richard, is a missionary of the Creekside Church.
He was also reportedly married to another woman besides the victim Jessica Lloyd. Police in the West African nation announced that the suspect is currently in their custody, adding that he is being investigated for attempted murder.
“The Liberia National Police have arrested and are investigating an American national, Lucas Richards, on allegations of Criminal Attempt to Commit Murder and Aggravated Assault,” the police said in a Facebook post.
“On September 14, at 3 PM, it is alleged that suspect Richards drove the victim, Jessica Lloyd, around Dixville, Caldwell, where he attacked and injured her, leaving her with lacerations on her neck, the back of her head, and fingers.
“Victim Lloyd is currently undergoing treatment at the John F. Kennedy Medical Hospital, while Suspect Richards is detained at the headquarters of the Liberia National Police. The public can be assured that justice will be served.” The allegations were, however, denied by Richard as he claimed Lloyd sustained the injuries after she was hit by a motorcycle.
“She was hit by a motorbike. The motorbike struck her, causing her to fall backward and roll into the ditch,” the suspect claimed.
Richard also told police the alleged accident occurred after he dropped the victim off following a visit to the supermarket. But Lloyd accused Richard of trying to kill her. “But firstly, before we could get out of the car, he took a big knife, saying that he was afraid of snakes and that, in case he saw one, we would kill it. So we got out of the car.
He put the knife in his pocket after we got to the riverside. The area was crowded, so he couldn’t do anything,” Lloyd said, per the Daily Observer.
“Later on, we went to some kind of bush area. He said he wanted to urinate. After urinating, he said he saw some kind of animal in the bush, but the knife was in his pocket. So he called me to come see. But I told him that I was scared.
So I just stood behind him. If I was going to get closer, he would have killed me right there, so I just stood behind him.”
The victim added: “When he finished urinating, I told him to wash his hands. Then we drove in front. He said he wanted to urinate again. So he said, ‘Stand behind me small.’ I stood behind him, but not too close, so when he finished, we got back into the car, went in front small, and passed by a cemetery. “We went in front small and he said the car tire had a problem and he wanted to change the tire. So I said okay. I was sitting in the car at first and then he said, ‘Oh Jessica, I think you will need to help me.” Lloyd said Richard subsequently brought out a wheel spanner and asked for her assistance, adding that the suspect also told her there was dirt in her hair.
“So, as he was cleaning it, I heard ‘boop’ —- I thought the car tire burst or current jerked me, so I fell on the ground and started jerking. When I woke up, he pushed me back on the ground. That was when he took the knife and began cutting my neck,” Lloyd recalled.
Lloyd’s mother said her daughter and Richard started their romantic relationship after they met while the victim was in boarding school.
Richard later asked for her hand in marriage. “My daughter confided in me, and I suggested that we meet this man. She informed me that he was already married to an older woman. A week later, both of them came, and we held a traditional wedding ceremony,” she said.
The victim went back to school after the wedding, per the Daily Observer. And though Richard impregnated Lloyd, the victim told her mother he was “aware of the situation and was supportive.” But things took a nosedive after officials in the school accused Lloyd of having an affair with the American missionary. Lloyd’s mother also claimed her daughter suffered a miscarriage after Richard injected her with a substance.
“He injected her, and shortly after, Jessica reported that her legs had weakened. I immediately informed her father, and he asked if I was certain it was intentional. I was hesitant to believe it due to his seemingly caring behavior,” she said