By NALINEE SEELAL Thursday, February 27 2014
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WEED-CUTTER: A fit policeman carries several cut marijuana trees to a bonfire to be burnt during a marijuana eradicationexercise on Monday in the Bich...
WOMEN in West Trinidad, beware. A killer is lurking. Senior police yesterday advised women living and working in West Trinidad — in particular Diego Martin — to exercise extreme caution when taking taxis late at night or during the early morning hours.
The warning comes as sources said the prime suspect behind the murder of 17-year-old Renee T’Anna Lazarus is a private-hire (PH) taxi-driver who uses a silver-coloured Mitsubishi Lancer and who operates along the PoS/Diego Martin taxi route.
Renee’s semi-nude body, clad only in socks and underwear, was found on Monday at an estate under a chenette tree at Cameron Hill in Petit Valley. Her body was positively identified on Tuesday by mother Alicia Lazarus Henry. An autopsy confirmed Renee died from strangulation.
Police believe that Lazarus knew her killer and had travelled with the suspect several times.
Police also believe the suspect may now be lying low following the murder, but are working “along certain lines” in an effort to apprehend him before Carnival ends.
Investigators said yesterday that while they have a full description of the suspect who was last seen in the company of Renee, they have not been able to locate him as he has gone into hiding.
Lazarus and her brother Nathaniel boarded the silver-coloured Mitsubishi Lancer car in Port-of- Spain at about 6 pm last Friday to travel to their Salandy Street, Diego Martin home.
Nathaniel dropped out at Factory Road in Diego Martin, while Renee remained in the vehicle hoping to be dropped off at Salandy Street where she lived. She was never seen alive again.
Yesterday, head of the Western Division Snr Supt Ishmael David said that while he will not comment on the status of the investigation, he is advising members of the travelling public especially women to be on the alert when entering taxis (be it registered or PH) and if possible, travel in a group.
“People travelling, especially women should be careful not to travel with persons who they do not know and try not to travel late at nights or during the early hours of the morning. If they have no choice but to travel at these hours, try do so with a friend or friends in the same car,” David said.
President of the Police Social and Welfare Association Insp Anand Ramesar said Renee’s murder shows the urgency for changing the law to allow the public especially women to move around with personal defence devices such as pepper spray and alarm triggers.
Yesterday, Renee’s mother Lazarus Henry advised women to be more aware of their surroundings and to be very careful when travelling. “If what happened to my daughter raises awareness of the dangers out there and can prevent another woman, another girl from being murdered, then her death won’t be in vain,” Lazarus Henry said.
She also appealed to mothers and fathers, not only in West Trinidad but throughout the country, to pay more attention to their sons and daughters and take whatever steps to protect them from human predators.
She said that losing her daughter has devastated her and her only hope now is that Renee’s killer is brought to justice. “I know in my heart that man will be found...I know this in my heart,” she added.