Trinidad – Murdered for helping cops
Family silenced for helping cops on case
PORT OF SPAIN –– Jeremy Toussaint was helping police solve a murder that took place in his community last week, and for this reason he was killed, along with his mother, stepfather and grandmother, police believe.
The bodies of Toussaint, 24, his mother Grace Toussaint, 55, and her husband Peter Baptiste, 59, were found yesterday in the living room of their Chatham, Cedros house, while that of 75-year-old grandmother Lena Peters was found in her bed.
They were all shot in their heads. Police believe the murders were the work of more than one person.
The killings bore a striking similarity to the murders of four members of a Williamsville family in 1994, for which Dole Chadee and eight accomplices were tried, convicted and hanged.
Police said Toussaint came to them last week Wednesday with information on the murder of Steffon Sinnette, who lived four houses away in Chatham South Trace.
He gave a statement to homicide detectives on Sinnette’s murder.
Sinnette, 33, had been found shot dead in his house, hours after a confrontation with a 55-year-old man from his community.
The man told police Sinnette had attempted to murder him and had chopped him on the face and shoulder.
He was hospitalized under police guard. When he was discharged, he was interviewed by homicide detectives and released.
The bodies were found at daybreak by Jeremy Toussaint’s grandfather Patrick Juba, who said his grandson had got death threats for going to the police with information.
“I heard that my grandson saw what took place last week. I heard someone told him, ‘We coming to kill all allyuh’,” said the 87-year-old.
“They [the suspects] also sent a message to me because somebody chopped my dog. It was pregnant, and her belly came out with the young ones. We tried to save her and the puppies, but we had to put them to sleep,” he said.
Juba told reporters when he arrived at the death house at around 6 a.m., he saw the door open and he knew something was wrong.
“Then, the two [family] dogs rushed up to me. I then saw my son-in-law’s tall boots and I realized that he didn’t go to work. I saw blood running out from inside the house. As I walked in, I saw my grandson lying down straight on the ground,” he said.
Juba, who lives less than half a kilometre from the death house, said he believed he heard the gunshots which ended the lives of his family members.
“I heard four gunshots yes-terday [Wednesday]. I heard them about 11 o’clock to 11:30 in the morning,” he said.
Juba said he had since learned his grandson had gone to police with information on the killing of Sinnette.
Jeremy Toussaint worked as a security guard. His mother was employed with the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP), and Baptiste was a gardener, working with the reforestation programme in Chatham.
Residents said Peters was “strong for her age” and was often seen walking in the community.
Juba said he became suspicious about his relatives’ whereabouts when he did not see his daughter Grace attend the wake of Sinnette on Wednesday night.
He said his granddaughter Jessica said she had been calling the relatives on Wednesday, but got no response.
Residents expressed their fear over the spate of murders which took place in the community, which is agriculture-based.
Chatham South Road leads to the south coast of the Cedros peninsular. The area is a known smuggling point of contact.
One resident said: “Never in my life I expected this to happen in this village. I am so scared; I don’t know how I could continue to live here.”
By afternoon, with police, crime scene investigators and homicide detectives surrounding the home where the family was killed, residents emerged from their houses and attended Sinnette’s funeral at a church in Cap de Ville.
The bodies were removed shortly after 3 p.m. yesterday, to be taken to the Forensic Science Centre in Federation Park for an autopsy today.
Leading police at the scene were South-Western Division Senior Superintendent Jimmy Palloo and Inspector Anderson Parriman.