Ghanaian man killed in US was planning to come home

A man found killed in Ames last weekend had been planning to return to his native country of Ghana this week to visit his family, a relative said Tuesday.

Michael Odikro, 32, of Ames was attending Des Moines Area Community College on a green card he won in a lottery in 2005.

Odikro’s uncle, Kofi Boye-Doe, 42, of Lawrence, Kan., said his nephew had been pursuing a degree in business administration and had lived in the United States for about 2 1/2 years.

Odikro’s body, Boye-Doe said, will be taken back to Ghana “to be with his ancestors.”

Boye-Doe said Odikro had never talked about Shakena Varnell, 34, who was also found killed last weekend.

“I had never heard her name until I saw it on the Internet,” Boye-Doe, who traveled to Iowa to identify Odikro’s body, said. “Everybody in our family is shocked. It just blew my mind away.”

Odikro’s body was found at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday along Pinon Drive. Police traced a trail of bloody footprints to find Varnell’s body.

Family members of Varnell said memorial services will be held Monday in Kenosha, Wis., where she is from originally. Varnell was also a DMACC student and a mother of two. Court records document a troubled relationship with the man arrested in her death.

Iowa State University sophomore Atiba Spellman, 33, was arrested at 3:30 p.m. Monday in Pikeville, N.C., where he has family. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Spellman will be extradited back to Iowa.

Autopsies were conducted over the weekend. According to the state medical examiner’s office, investigators have requested that the results be withheld. No other details have been released, such as a cause of death or a motive.

Source: Des Moines Register

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