Police have arrested a 49-year-old man in connection with the death of the female whose body was found in King’s Hill Forest Reserve on Wednesday.
The deceased has been identified as 18-year-old Katisha Bess of Great House (Lowman’s Leeward).
Sources say that the 49-year-old suspect, a resident of Calliaqua, could be charged with murder today (Friday), after an autopsy on Bess’ body.
Bess’ body was identified by her grandmother and mother-in-law after her sister-in-law saw a photo published by I-Witness News hours after forest rangers discovered the then unidentified body and notified police.
Bess moved between the house of her mother-in-law, Bethel Warren, in Great House and another house where she lived with her boyfriend, Warren’s son, in the West Kingstown community.
Ishmael Warren, Bethel’s sister, told I-Witness News on Thursday that she last saw Bess on Monday, when she said she was going to Kingstown to collect “something”.
She said Bess did not say what she was going to collect or where she was going to collect it.
Ishmael said, however, that Bess did not have any money for bus fare so she paid for her.
She said she telephoned the teenager after 11 a.m. Monday.
“When I was in town, I called her and asked her where she was. She said she up Peace Mo going out,” Ishmael told I-Witness News.
Ishmael said Bess asked her what she wanted and she told her she wanted help in choosing a pair of shoes.
“She didn’t say where she was going. All she say is she was going to collect something and come back,” Ismael told I-Witness News.
Ishmael said she expected Bess to return home on Monday.
“I called her phone. The phone ring, ring, ring and stopped. We tried texting her and all; no respond,” Bess told I-Witness News.
“When we didn’t see she come back the Monday and the Tuesday, I tell my sister that we will have to make a report at the [police] station,” Ishmael told I-Witness News.
She, however, said that Bess’ grandmother, with whom the teenager used to live, told her that it was not the first time that Bess had stayed away from home for a few days without saying where she was going.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), I was inside and I hear my daughter scream out and crying. So I say, ‘What happened to you?’ and she said, ‘Mommy, watch this, watch this; this not Katish here?
“She does go on Facebook and she say I-Witness say they find a body out there,” Ismael recounted.
She said she woke up Bethel and showed her the photo.
“Ah me plait her hair,” Bethel said in reference to the hairstyle Bess was wearing when she died, which she said helped her to identify the teenager.
Bethel told I-Witness News that her daughter told her that Bess used her (daughter’s) phone on Monday to call a man.
Bess said the teenager called her daughter on Monday and told her that she had collected from the man money to pay for some items that she had credited.
That was the last time that Bethel’s daughter heard from Bess.
Bethel, however, said that when her daughter called the man after Bess did not return home, he denied having seen her.
They say they suspect this person knows something about or is involved Bess’ death.
The Warren sisters say that the man’s wife had gone to Bess and told her to stay away from her husband, telling the teenager “one set ah thing”.
Bethel said that the man visited her shop on Tuesday and was inquiring about Bess.
“My body just feel different. He asking for she and me … get a funny feeling,” she told I-Witness News.
Bethel said she told the man that Bess left home on Monday and was yet to return and those who know about her whereabouts should say.
“And he never call Ishmael phone and he calling Ismael phone Monday and Tuesday. And yesterday, me hear Ishmael say he calling her phone and ah ask ‘bout Katisha…” Bethel said.
The women lamented Bess’ reluctance to tell them about where she was going and who she was planning to meet.
“Most time she say she going town, she don’t say nothing. And when I ask she, ‘Katisha, yo alright?’ she ah say she okay. She duh say nothing,” Bethel said in tears.
Police have listed Bess’ death as the 12th murder in St. Vincent and the Grenadines this year.