Family members of the deceased, Je-Tonnia Thomas-Stephens, who was laid to rest at the Chauncey Cemetery last Sunday 27th May, are questioning the validity of a marriage claim which they have been hearing about.
The stepmother of the deceased, along with her sister, speaking to News784 on Tuesday, said that they are left confused, and angered after hearing that Je-Tonnia was bearing the hyphenated or “double-barrelled” surname, Thomas-Stephens.
Juliet Thomas told News784 that she would like the police to look into such claims by Mr Paul Stephens, since she was never invited to any wedding nor told by her step-daughter of any such union.
Thomas said that Je-Tonnia and Paul were living together for only one year, which cannot even qualify the relationship to be legally considered a common-law union.
Thomas told News784 that as stepmother, and as someone who raised Je-Tonnia after the death of her mother at a young age, she was not even allowed to view her autopsy report.
“I was told by the doctors she died from a heart attack, and that her heart had swollen twice the normal size, (but) that’s another story, since I know she never had a heart-related issue. They told me the husband is the one who will be able to view such report. Well am saying to you, that marriage is not true!”
When asked how she could substantiate such a claim, Thomas told News784 that she did her checks.
“Myself and other family members went to the Registry on Tuesday morning to find out about what we have been hearing. At the Registry, we were told that no record of such marriage exists within their database. There was no application for marriage either.”
“Hearing such information, I became even more distraught because when Mr Stephens keep presenting her as wife! The police should have asked for the marriage license”.
Thomas said she was among the women who shielded Paul Stephens from the barrage of stones that were thrown at him at Sunday’s burial ceremony.
“All am hearing is that they were married spiritually! No family member knows anything about a wedding! All am hearing is (that) it was a ‘spiritual marriage’ and that it took place at a church in Layou”. Thomas says.
“I want to get down to the bottom of this because a lot of things about my step daughter’s death does not add up,” Thomas lamented.
According to a police report following an autopsy on Je-Tonnia, she died as a result of Cardiac Arrest.
Cardiac Arrest refers to a sudden loss of blood flow resulting from the failure of the heart to effectively pump. Symptoms include loss of consciousness and abnormal or absent breathing. Some individuals may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or nausea before cardiac arrest.
The body of “Je-Tonnia Thomas-Stephens” was found at the home which she shared with Paul Stephens at about 6 am on Thursday 10th May 2018.