|Gender Ministry collects new info on Akiel’s murder |
By Nalinee Seelal Sunday, May 12 2013
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Drowning victim Akiel Chambers....
Fifteen years after his body was fished out of a swimming pool in Maraval, persons with key information on the death of Akiel Chambers are now coming forward and talking to investigators.
Inronically, however, the new information relating to Akiel’s death is not being shared with the police but rather with the investigative unit of the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Childhood Development and Minister Marlene Coudray.
Yesterday Coudray confirmed that some persons have come forward to provide key information regarding Akiel’s death.
“Yes, I can confirm that we are making some headway into this probe and I want to personally thank those persons who are assisting in getting to the bottom of this child’s death,” she told Sunday Newsday.
Coudray said she could not reveal the new information because she did not want persons assisting in the probe to get cold feet. She said that when the time is right the public will be informed of the new details.
On May 23, 1998, Akiel was dropped off at Balata Terrace, Haleland Park, Maraval, by his aunt Valerie Pascal. He had gone there to attend a birthday party for a classmate. Police believe that the killer was at the same party.
When the party ended and Akiel could not be found, a frantic, fruitless search was carried out for him. However, on the morning of May 24, 1998, Akiel’s body was fished out of a swimming pool on the compound of the house where he had attended the birthday party the day before.
Several persons were interviewed about the boy’s disappearance. Following investigations, police ruled out drowning as the cause of death and were working on the theory that Akiel was a victim of sexual abuse.
Last year in Parliament Coudray called for a re-opening of the investigation into Akiel’s death, and also called on the public to come forward with whatever information they might have.
Yesterday Coudray also revealed that she was approached by a member of the public to do a film on the death of Akiel and she was currently holding discussions with the child’s relatives regarding the granting of permission.
Like Minister Coudray, the police are also anxious for justice to be served and are hoping that persons come forward to assist them so that the killer can be unmasked after 15 years.
Contacted for an update on the case, Deputy Police Commissioner Mervyn Richardson said police had reopened the investigation into Akiel’s death on three occasions with no fresh evidence in the past 15 years.
He said that he was glad the public is now coming forward to help by providing information. He appealed to the public to also assist the police.
“Once we get the necessary evidence we will act swiftly and those coming forward need not worry about (breaches in) confidentially,” Richardson said.
Yesterday relatives of the dead boy said they were now living with a glimmer of hope that Akiel’s murder would be solved and the killer would be brought to justice.