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– seven in custody as the investigation continues
AS investigation continue into the brutal murder of Joel and Isaiah Henry, Police Investigators are in search of three additional suspects, the country’s Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum disclosed during a Joint Services press conference held virtually Tuesday afternoon.
The disclosure by the Crime Chief comes hours after the Commissioner of Police (ag) Nigel Hoppie indicated that seven persons were now in custody in connect with the double murder that has sent shockwaves throughout the country, and sparked protest actions along the West Coast of Berbice corridor.
Speaking in the presence of the Chief of Staff and Chairman of the Joint Services, Brigadier Godfrey Bess and Hoppie, the Crime Chief, in response to a question posed, detailed that among those in custody are the owner of a coconut estate, his son, three of his staff and two coconut vendors. Blanhum brushed aside a question on whether or not the murder of the teenage boys were racially motivated, noting that there is no evidence at the moment to suggest such.
The mutilated bodies of Joel and Isaiah Henry were discovered Sunday afternoon in the backdam of the Cotton Tree Village one day after they went missing. Based on images seen by the Village Voice, the teens were severely chopped, their throats slit and an “X” engraved on one of their heads.
With seven suspects in custody, and three more being sought, the Crime Chief said the Guyana Police Force is working earnestly to bring the perpetrators to justice but said its efforts are hindered due to the protests, in particular the blocking of the roads. “The information that we received, we are trying our utmost to locate these individuals, however, because of the prevailing circumstances, our efforts have been stymied to some extent,” the Crime Chief said.
In his address, the Chief of Staff said the protests which stretches from Cotton Tree to Lichfield Village have degenerated into a violent demonstration with reports of persons being violently attacked and their cars and trucks destroyed. There have been three reports of robbery. Last night (Monday), lawmen fired rubber bullets at protestors while releasing teargas in an attempt to clear the road. This, however, did not weakened resolve of the people.
He noted that given the situation on the ground and failure by protestors to remain calm, a Joint Services Operation was initiated on Tuesday morning, and soldiers along with fire fighters were deployed to the area to offer support to the police as they clear the blocked roads.
“Our ranks have been working hard to have the roadways cleared but are exercising extreme restraint in consideration of the circumstances surrounding the death of Joel and Isaiah Henry. Notwithstanding the circumstances, the Joint Services take seriously all acts against public order, and while acknowledging the rights of individuals to peaceful protest, it can no longer exercise tolerance when protest action degenerates into unlawful acts, infringing on the rights of other citizens and putting the protection of life and the safeguard of property at risks,” the Chief of Staff said.
He used the platform to once again urged citizens to exercise calm as the police investigate the gruesome murder with the sole intention bringing the perpetrators being brought to justice.
The post mortem examination of the two teenage cousins is expected to be done tomorrow, September 9, 2020.