Trinidad – Cops hiding killer
One month after daughter’s murder by man in wheelchair, mom asks why no arrest?
PORT OF SPAIN – Mother of the victim of the “wheelchair killer”, Salma Chadee, said yesterday the grieving family believes the suspect is being protected by the police as almost one month later he is yet to be arrested.
Waheida Khan-Chadee said she is “hurt” and “stunned” that the person of interest being sought by the police who lived with the family for some time and presented himself as Joe “Goat” Mohammed, is still “hiding and living good” nearly a month after she witnessed her 19-year-old daughter being fatally shot.
“What are the police doing?” she asked.
Salma Chadee was shot twice in the chest at home on January 17, while Khan-Chadee stood a few feet away, holding Chadee’s 11-month-old son, Noah.
Speaking from her Chadee Street, La Paille Village home yesterday, Khan-Chadee said rumours continue to reach the family that the “wheelchair killer”, so called because his legs were broken and he was confined to a wheelchair at the time of the murder, is being seen out and about in the Central area.
After killing Chadee, the man forced her brother to carry him outside, where a getaway car was waiting. The man’s wheelchair was left behind as he was thrown out into the front yard and dragged himself to freedom.
“I heard he was seen recently in Chaguanas moving around with the help of friends,” Khan-Chadee said.
“He is free as usual but apparently he is well-connected.”
The man is also wanted in connection with the murder last May of his estranged wife, Sherlene Mahangoo-Charles. Khan-Chadee maintained yesterday that neither her daughter nor the family was aware of the man’s true identity.
“We never had a clue,” she said.
She stated again, however, that Mohammed had claimed to have been assisted by police on the day of his accident in which his legs were broken.
“He said they called the ambulance for him. So didn’t they know who he was, or are they protecting him?” she asked.
The 47-year-old grandmother said yesterday she lost her job at a private doctor’s office after the murder, as her employer felt too much “negativity” had been generated by the incident. She now cares for her grandson, while the health of her husband, Chadee’s father, has declined. Chadee’s father suffers from clinical depression.
Khan-Chadee reiterated statements she made after the murder, saying the killer had stayed a her home for close to a month following his accident and she believed her daughter felt sorry for him.
“He never really talked about having any family and such,” she said.
“Salma had known him through friends and I think she was sorry for him but maybe he thought they were together. I can’t say that I saw any relationship between them.”
She is still unsure as to “what triggered him off” on the day of the shooting but she knew her daughter had begun to find the man “possessive”.
“I believe she may have told him that she couldn’t take care of him anymore,” Khan-Chadee said. “But if he could do that to his wife and then come here and do this to my daughter, he has no remorse.”
She said the man had spent most of his time on the family’s couch and although she had limited conversation with him, she treated him well, believing him to be a friend of her daughter in need.
“He used to call me ‘lady’ and was respectful,” she said.
“He used to keep a Quran by his head all the time and would talk about the book. He pretended to be a good person.”
Now the Chadee family lives not only in grief but in fear that the killer could return.
“It is so hurtful and frightening that he is still outside,” Khan-Chadee said.
“He is hiding and living good while we have to deal with this. My daughter and I had become so close after she had the baby, she used to tell me that the day I die, she wants to die that same day too.”
Baby Noah’s father is not a part of the child’s life, she said, and she intends to apply to the courts for legal guardianship. Relatives of the Chadees living on the same property and their neighbours have all expressed similar fears for their safety.
“He could rationalise a reason to come back here,” said one relative, who declined to be named.
“I have a child who is too afraid and traumatised to go to school because of this.”
Neighbours on the short street have upped security, adding more lights and cameras to their properties.