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Our Jamaica

Donna-Lee's family longs for closure

Published:Tuesday | August 9, 2022 | 9:50 AM

Constable Noel Maitland has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Donna-Lee Donaldson. The 24-year-old social media influencer has been missing since July 13. The family members are pleading for the location of her body so they may have closure.

‘WE NEED THE BODY’

In plea for closure, Donna-lee’s family demands cop tell all

3 Aug 2022/Kimone Francis/ Senior Staff Reporter

THE FAMILY of Donna-lee Donaldson, the 24-yearold social media influencer who investigators believe has been murdered by her police boyfriend Constable Noel Maitland, is pleading with the accused to disclose where her body has been disposed of.

“We just want closure. We just want to bury her,” Donaldson’s aunt Ann-marie Lugg said in a Gleaner interview on Tuesday a short while after the police announced that Maitland was charged with murder.

Donaldson was last seen at his New Kingston apartment on July 11. She was reported missing on July 13.

“We are weak. It’s indescribable how we are feeling. We need the body so that she can get a proper burial. Give us the bone, anything, just to know that it’s Donna-lee and we can put her to rest, know where she is and visit her,” Lugg pleaded.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey said the police have not yet recovered a body but indicated that the case was upgraded from a missing person to homicide because of forensic evidence.

“His formal charge comes after 20 days of diligent and comprehensive investigations by detectives in what began as a missing-person investigation, which, given the evidence that was being collected, subsequently became a murder probe,” said Bailey.

He said investigations have concluded that Donaldson was killed on July 12 between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The deputy commissioner said that this was supported by forensic evidence and technology but noted that a motive has not yet been established for the killing.

Bailey said that there was an extensive search of the Riverton

City dump in St Andrew, but investigators came up empty-handed.

Maitland’s apartment was also processed by crimescene investigators on July 15, two days after the young woman was reported missing. The constable has been in custody since his arrest on July 27 in relation to her disappearance.

“We will continue as we get the lead. I can’t come to a decision on whether or not her body will be found. We hope that would be the endgame, that her body is found so that the family can actually bring closure to an unfortunate situation,” the deputy commissioner said.

Bailey also said investigators believe that Maitland received assistance to dispose of Donaldson’s body after she was killed.

Lugg said that the family has not been able to discuss in detail the developments with her sister, Sophia Lugg, who is Donaldson’s mother.

Sophia remains hospitalised since July 27 with respiratory issues.

“We don’t want to upset her and cause her health to go down. We’re giving her time to rest her nerve.

We’re all just trying to cope,” Lugg said, but noted that her sister was aware that charges have been laid.

Meanwhile, Maitland’s attorney Christopher Townsend told The Gleaner that the murder charge was expected.

“It was within our contemplation that he might have been charged and he was ... . They conducted a question-and-answer, albeit they questioned him about things that were not connected with the offence that he is now being charged with,” he said.

Townsend added that the police attempted to “go around us” by indicating that legal aid would sit with Maitland for a second question-and-answer session after he objected.

“They know that he had counsel, which for me certainly signals how fair they plan to be. They wanted to hold an identification parade when they know that his picture was all over the place in terms of the press, which is also an indication of how unfair they are likely to be,” said Townsend.

The attorney said that he is now awaiting the full disclosure of evidence against his client, noting that the practice by the police of withholding information until court proceedings commence should not be allowed to continue.

 

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