By Nalinee Seelal and Alexander Bruzual Friday, January 10 2014
Dian Paladee, a schoolteacher and heiress to the Pennywise chain of cosmetics stores, was brutally beaten with a rolling pin and shot once to the head by her former husband, Sanjeev Ramberran, who then blew his head off with a shotgun in an apartment where he lived at Bedasie Street, St Augustine.
The brutal murder/suicide has left the Paladee and Ramberran families in shock and deep grief.
Paladee, 48, a Standard One teacher at El Dorado South Hindu School, was discovered missing from her home at Orchard Gardens, Chaguanas, on Wednesday night.
Her worried brothers called her cell number and when they got no reply they called the number for Ramberran, 44, and when he did not answer they alerted officers of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit.
Newsday understands officers located the last known address for Ramberran and, at about 3.30 am yesterday, they went to his apartment at 48 Bedasie Street, St Augustine and knocked on the front door. When they got no response, officers broke down the door and found Paladee and Ramberran on a bed on the southern side of the house. Paladee appeared to have been bludgeoned to death with a rolling pin while Ramberran’s head was blown away. He had a shotgun clutched in his hands.
Investigators including ASP Greenidge, Inspectors Thompson, Morgan, Malco and woman corporal Davis alerted a district medical officer and the bodies were viewed and ordered removed to the Forensic Science Centre, St James.
Police seized the shotgun and a bloodstained rolling pin from the crime scene.
An autopsy revealed that apart from being beaten and shot once in the head, Paladee had been handcuffed and duct tape was used to cover her mouth. Ramberran killed himself by placing the shotgun to his mouth and fired one shot blasting his head.
His brother, Dev, said Ramberran and Paladee were married about 20 years ago and lived at Orchard Gardens, Chaguanas. They have two children Sanjay, 16, and Sangeeta, 18. Sanjay attends Hillview College, El Dorado, while Sangeeta is a student of Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College, St Augustine.
Dev said although the couple was divorced two years ago, Paladee still visited his brother. Dev believes they met on Wednesday and may have argued, escalating to their deaths.
He noted their 71-year-old mother, Violet, who has a heart condition was devastated over the deaths and was being carefully monitored. He said based on information he received his brother did not appear to be disoriented, angry or upset recently. Ramberran worked at the Empty Packaging Department at Carib Brewery until November, last year, when he resigned.
His former co-workers said he was “a cool person” who did not display any signs of being troubled or violent. Even residents of Bedasie Street said they could not believe Ramberran was capable of such a heinous act.
Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha Sat Maharaj yesterday said Paladee taught at El Dorado South Hindu School for about 20 years and spoke highly of her family.
“I know the family, the father of Dian was Lall Paladee one of the great benefactors of the Maha Sabha. He also donated towards the building of Lakshmi Girls’ College, and the Tunapuna Hindu School and donated generously towards various causes. I met him and his wife a number of times when I went on pilgrimage to India. They were Sai Baba devotees,” Maharaj said.
He praised Paladee as a “very good teacher” and said her marriage to Ramberran was her second.
“When she got married she did come with her father to see us because she wanted to migrate and I advised her to resign on the grounds of marriage so that if the marriage did not work out overseas she could come back directly into the teaching service,” he said. “After six months she came back and went back to teach at the same school. She was a very good teacher and was loved by her students and their parents. The Ministry of Education is working with counsellors and I have instructed the manager of the school, Raj Jadoo, to organise next week a religious gathering at the school to have some prayers.”
Several teachers who spoke with Newsday said they were traumatised over the death because they were very close to “Miss Dian” as Paladee was fondly referred to. Classes were cancelled for the day.
Paladee, also a devout devotee of Sai Baba, was loved by those who knew her.
A relative, speaking on condition of anonymity, said she was asked several times to end an abusive relationship and return to her family’s home to live but she did not heed the call.
She was also asked to migrate to Canada and this she also refused to do.
The relative described Paladee as “queen of the Paladee family” and the eyeball of her brothers who were distraught over her murder.
Another relative, Samantha Paladee, posted a message on Facebook which read: “Words can’t even express how we feel. You would be missed so much. Gone way to soon. Just seeing you in that glowing pretty face. We will always love you. Give us the strength and courage to get through this hard time. I know you are looking over us right now. RIP.”
Paladee’s father, Lall, the founder of Pennywise Cosmetics, passed at the age of 73 in September 2009. Lall was described by many as the “community charity guru” for he was popularly known for serving people and helping them by donating groceries, establishing medical camps, giving away new clothes, medicine and spectacles as well as building homes for the destitute. Lall was the husband of Shanti and father of six children – five boys and one girl. He was also the grandfather of 12.
The Paladee and Ramberran murder/suicide was the second in five days. On January 4, Amanda Persad, 22, was shot to death by her boyfriend Shastri Roopnarine, who then shot and killed himself at an apartment in San Juan. Paladee’s killing is among 22 murders since the start of the new year.
There were four in the first week of January 2013.