Some relatives of Avis and Ronald Israel, two of the persons murdered last week Sunday night clashed with police at the house in Old Montrose where their bodies were found Monday morning.
The impasse began as police prepared to remove the bodies from the scene amidst a request by relatives of the murder victims to wait until Roxanne Israel, Avis’ daughter, arrived.
However, the police apparently denied the request and was instructing funeral home staff to remove the bodies when Patrick McIntosh, Avis’ great nephew, called on persons at the scene to stand in the driveway.
“Nobody ain’t going in here and move nothing until Roxanne come. Come here so and stand up,” he said, as some persons at the scene supported him, saying, “That’s right!” while others said that Roxanne needed to see her mother before the body was removed.
A few minutes before, it was said that Roxanne, who had flown back from Mustique, where she works, was in traffic in downtown Kingstown and would have gotten there in about five minutes.
About that same time, a detective who had helped to process the scene told iWitness News that the murders were especially gruesome.
The detective said the heads of the 75-year-old woman and her 47-year-old son were both crushed.
This was also the case with two other persons killed elsewhere that same night allegedly by the same suspect, 18-year-old Jurani Baptiste of Old Sandy Bay, who has a history of mental illness.
One police officer pushed away some persons from the gateway while officers from the Special Service Unit (SSU) attempted to move McIntosh from the gate.
At that time, he said he would report the situation to the prime minister the following day.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is also minister of National Security and is responsible for the police force.
At this time, Roxanne arrived and went straight to the house, into the patio, where her brother’s body was.
A female detective pointed her in another direction, where detective Inspector Hezron Ballantyne and other detective appeared to be attempting to reason with her.
Roxanne, however, pushed one of the officers away and entered the building as second in command of the Criminal Investigation Department, detective Clauston Francis came over and stopped another woman from entering the house about the same time that Israel did.
Francis continued to reason with the woman but it was not possible to determine what he was saying to her.
When Roxanne emerged from the house, she was faint and had to be supported by Ballantyne and another detective.
“That is what they were trying to avoid,” one man commented, saying, “The woman whole brain outside,” a reference to the murder victim.
Francis declined to comment on the development in an interview in which he briefed the media about the murders.
“I don’t want to comment on that,” he said.
McIntosh, however, defended his actions, saying that the police “are not very understanding”.
He defended Roxanne, saying that it is her choice to view the body at the scene, if she wished to.
McIntosh, however, said that he did not want to see the bodies, adding that he was still trying to get over what he saw when doctors were trying to resuscitate his father, who died of a heart attack earlier this year.
“When I peeked in, I saw them working on him and it wasn’t exactly a good sight. So I am trying still to come to grips with that,” the son of the deceased Anglican priest said.
Asked if, based on his experience, he thought it was good for Roxanne to see her relatives at the scene, McIntosh said, “Well, as I say, it is her choice. You can’t be mad with somebody for their choice. You can’t tell them no when it’s their choice.”