Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 10th 2015 Contents DEREK ACHONG
Shabana Mohammed, the 19-year-old woman
from Santa Cruz, whose decomposing body was
recovered near her home on Thursday---five days
after she was reported missing, was strangled.
Mohammed, a sales coordinator at a shipping com-
pany in Woodbrook, took her dying breath while
lying face-down in drain where her attacker dumped
Saturday, January 10, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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Four men have been detained for
the murder of a Central woman
who was killed during a home inva-
sion early yesterday.
Chaguanas mayor Gopaul Bood-
han was at the crime scene hours
after and said he knew the victim,
Rautie Esther Gopaul.
Boodhan advised residents to be
alert for any suspicious activities in
their communities and contact the
police and report any strange behav-
iour they believe may have some
level of criminal intent.
Gopaul, 42, also known as Wendy,
was found unresponsive after three
bandits broke into her home at
McPhill Street, Caroni Savannah
Road, Chaguanas and tied up her
son, Aaron, 19, a student of the Uni-
versity of the West Indies, and herself
with duct tape and plastic tie-straps.
Asked if she was shot or attacked,
one investigator, Sgt Jitindra Tool-
eram, said, "We are awaiting the
"We don t know if she died of a
heart attack or what."
One of Gopaul s younger sisters,
who lives at Caroni Savannah Road
and asked not to be identified, said
her sister and her husband separated
last year and she worked as a free-
lance sales attendant on contract
with soft-drink manufacturer SM
She said Gopaul was apparently
strangled and her body was found
face down on the bed. Police said
the teenager managed to free himself
after the bandits left and contacted
neighbours and the police.
The relative said they were
shocked when they found Gopaul s
corpse sometime after 3 am.
Family members said there was
no reason to kill Gopaul since she
was not wealthy.
They said she juggled jobs to sup-
port her son. Neighbours described
Gopaul as a reserved person who
kept to her own business and were
baffled as to the motives behind the
Police said the teenager was
accosted by two men, one armed
with a gun and the other with a cut-
lass, as he was watching television
sometime after midnight.
A third intruder woke Gopaul who
was asleep in her bedroom. The men
demanded money and jewelry, police
said. Both victims were beaten during
the robbery and the bandits ran-
sacked the house stealing an undis-
closed sum of money and jewelry,
The murder has taken the toll to
16, in nine days. For the comparable
period last year there were 23 report-
---with reporting by Yvonne
Woman killed during home invasion
Four suspects in custody
her body after crushing almost all the bones in her
neck with his bare hands.
The details of Mohammed s final moments were
revealed by forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov
after he performed an autopsy on her body at the
Forensic Science Centre in St James yesterday.
"She was placed into the drain unconscious but
still breathing. She made a couple terminal inhalations
because I found dirt in her air passages," Alexandrov
Alexandrov revealed that Mohammed s mother
and father identified her from her waist-length black
and blond hair as she was not visibly recognisable
due to the advanced state of decomposition.
Alexandrov could not determine whether the
teenager had been sexually assaulted.
"I don t think that after five days the sperm could
survive, but we did a rape kit and took vaginal swabs,"
Alexandrov concluded Mohammed died on Sat-
urday, effectively dispelling the police s theory that
her body was dumped there between Wednesday
night and Thursday morning.
Mohammed s relatives, who spoke extensively with
media on her disappearance earlier this week, were
too distraught to speak after witnessing the autopsy.
According to reports, around 7.30 am on Saturday,
Mohammed s relatives left her home alone. When
they returned several hours later she was missing
and an area of the house had been ransacked. Her
clothing including a pair of urine soaked underwear
was found in the house. Relatives reported her missing
after neighbours said they heard screams coming
from the house and Mohammed s cellphone went
Homicide detectives have already identified a person
of interest in the crime---a male friend of Mohammed.
Autopsy: Shabana was strangled
Head of the Central Division
Snr Supt Johnny Abraham, who
was at the crime scene said four
people of interest had been
detained and were being
questioned at the Chaguanas
He said while crime continues
to be low in the borough no
alarm was raised when the
killers entered Gopaul's house.
"So far we have certain
information that we are working
on, I am not willing to reveal it at
this time, the investigation is a
"Every time we have a murder
people want to see it solve right
away and when we tell the
public that the investigation is a
sensitive case they always
believe that the murder won't
solve," Abraham said.
"I have been going home 3 am
every morning since the new
year start ensuring that the
people of Central Trinidad
remain safe. Central Trinidad is
lockdown from every corner,
from Couva in the South to
Caroni in the North to Las
Lomas in the East to Brasso and
for this year we only have three
or four reported robberies to
"When a homicide like this
takes place behind closed doors,
even though the police vehicle
may be passing here at the time
of the homicide was taking place
there was nothing to raise an
alarm to say something was
taking place because it was in
Chaguanas Mayor Gopaul Boodhan,
left, speaks with Snr Supt Johnny
Abraham on the scene of the
murder of Rautie Esther Gopaul
(inset) on Mc Phill Street,
PHOTO: SHASTRI BOODAN
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