GUYANA – Grave unearthed
Police find remains of woman after almost six years
GEORGETOWN –– For close to six years, Sharadananda Narine ate and slept in his Lot 51, Seaforth Street residence, seemingly undisturbed by the fact that his reputed wife, Babita Sarjou, lay buried in a shallow grave in his backyard.
But that gruesome secret came to light just before 2 p.m. Sunday, when detectives unearthed Sarjou’s skeletal remains on the same property.
Digging for some five hours in a water-logged area, detectives, aided by several recruits, first located the murdered woman’s rib-cage, in a three-foot-deep grave that 38-year-old Sharadananda Narine, called “Anand”, and his alleged accomplice, Darel Pronton, called “Yankee” had led them to after hours of interrogation.
They then dug up a skull, several bones, a pair of high-heeled shoes, a brassiere, and bits of clothing from the same spot.
Hours later, detectives brought a shackled Anand Narine, with head bowed, and his alleged hit-man, Dorel Pronton, out of the yard, to separate police vehicles.
The discovery, played out before several shocked neighbours, brought an end to years of agony for Babita Sarjou’s family, who had been wondering about her fate since she vanished without trace on November 4, 2010.
At the scene Sunday, a clearly elated Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum commended his investigators for cracking the case.
“After hours and days of painstaking investigation, they were able to solicit crucial information which would have led to this breakthrough. This is no longer a missing person [case], but it is homicide that we are investigating.
“The remains were found in the back of the house in a shallow grave which was about three feet in depth. So far, we believe the body is that of Babita Sarjou, nevertheless to be 100 percent certain that it is that of Babita Sarjou.
“We will need to do DNA tests. We have already obtained samples from the remains and relatives and we will be sending it to Trinidad this week or early next week.
“It will not prevent us from instituting any charges. We have established a case against both suspects and we are in contact with the police Legal Advisor from the initial stage of the investigation and very soon we will be able to receive her legal opinion as it relates to instituting charges.”
Police hinted at a breakthrough late last week after detaining Sarjou’s estranged husband, Sharadananda Narine, and Darel Pronton, a 35-year-old unemployed man from James and Albouys Street, Albouystown.
Evidence against the men allegedly includes statements and phone calls that Narine made to Pronton with Sarjou’s cell phone shortly after she disappeared.
As for a motive, Kaieteur News understands that Sarjou’s husband has stated that he was furious because he suspected that she was having an affair with a man at her workplace. He was also angry that she had taken him to court on allegations that he had posted up nude pictures of her.
It is alleged that he hired the unemployed Pronton, whom he had befriended, to kill Sarjou. Pronton was allegedly paid $50,000 and promised a trip to Trinidad. The trip to Trinidad never materialised.
It is alleged that on the Diwali Night of November 4, 2010, Babita Sarjou left her mother’s home at Timehri, after making arrangements to meet her spouse, Narine, who would take her to see the motorcade at the Kitty seawall. She was also reportedly to meet her four-year-old son.
Unknown to Sarjou, Narine and Pronton had already dug her grave in Narine’s Seaforth Street backyard, two days before.
Sarjou reportedly met her husband outside the National Cultural Centre and entered his car. It is around this same area that Pronton, who was allegedly sitting in the back seat, strangled Sarjou.
With the body covered with a blanket, the two men reportedly then drove to Narine’s Seaforth Street residence. Narine reportedly reversed into the yard, and the men concealed the body in a section of the bottom house, while Pronton remained with the corpse. At around midnight, the two men then took the body to the backyard and threw it over a zinc fence and into the grave.
It remained there for close to six years, with detectives reportedly within a few feet of the corpse on one occasion while searching the premises shortly after her disappearance.
But over the years, Sarjou’s relatives, with assistance from the Caribbean American Domestic Awareness Organization (CADVA), pressed relentlessly to have the case re-opened.
Police said that the two alleged killers reportedly panicked when police revealed recently that they were reopening their investigation.
Narine reportedly enquired from his alleged accomplice if he knew of any substance that could dissolve human bones.
While police have received criticism for the way they conducted their investigation during its early stages, an official said that Narine had presented investigators with a strong alibi for his whereabouts at the time his wife had vanished.
Kaieteur News was told that things were no less challenging this time around, since Narine came into custody with an attorney. But Kaieteur News was told that police put in a lot of preparation into their case before taking the suspects into custody.
Speaking about the tedious work the ranks did to crack the case and retrieve the body, the Crime Chief revealed that the suspects had indicated on Saturday where they had buried Sarjou.
To ensure that no one tampered with the remains, police kept the premises under surveillance.
He said that the grave was located in a flooded area, and the ranks had to pump the water out and also place sand-bags. Digging for the body began at around 8 a.m. Sunday and concluded at around 1:50 p.m.