Mon | May 27, 2019

Third man held in 8-y-o’s murder probe

Published:Tuesday | April 23, 2019 | 12:25 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

Investigators have taken a third man into custody in relation to the murder of eight-year-old Shantae Skyers of Sterling Castle Heights, St Andrew.

This brings to three the number of persons now being questioned by investigators.

“One other man is being held in connection to the murder of little Shantae and is being questioned by investigators, while the two men who were taken in last week by the police remain in lock-up,” Assistant Superintendent Dahlia Garrick, head of the police’s Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), told The Gleaner.

Skyers’ decomposing body was found last Tuesday among rubble in a section of the community, following a five-day search after she failed to return home from school.

A relative newcomer to the rural community, having moved there only in January, the police strongly believe Skyers was sexually assaulted before being killed by her attacker. A post-mortem is scheduled for today.

In the aftermath of the discovery of the child’s body, Miguel Williams, a 26-year-old resident of the community, was attacked, beaten and then set alight by an angry mob, who accused him of having knowledge of what led to Skyers’ demise. His death has added more grief to an already grim situation in that community, and has triggered fears of more bloodshed.

Garrick said Williams had not previously been booked for any sex-related offences, adding that investigations are also still ongoing into his death.

“I know that all investigations including both deaths are being carried out in earnest,” Garrick said.

PROTECTIVE CUSTODY

The Gleaner was told that up to the time of Williams’ death that no information was shared with the police to indicate that he was suspected by residents to have been involved in the child’s murder.

“There is nothing to indicate that the residents thought he was involved. However, based on some new bit of information, it would appear that they believed that he had information that could have assisted the police, and in light of that, his entire family came under threat with the police taking steps to remove them from the community.

“Yes, the family was taken into protective custody – the mother included. Based on information we had, it was the prudent thing to do. They are elsewhere and have not returned to the area,” stated Garrick.

A community meeting is being planned for Thursday to address concerns and ease tension in the community. It is expected to involve residents, several child-related agencies, including CISOCA, the Cyber Crimes Unit, the Victim Support Unit, the Peace Management Initiative and the Ministry of Education; as well as high-ranking police personnel and political representatives.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com