|IS PASTOR KITTY ALIVE? |
By NALINEE SEELAL, JANELLE DE SOUZA and RYAN HAM Thursday, April 3 2014
IN A DRAMATIC turn of events, the funeral service and cremation of Pastor Vishnu “Kitty” Lutchmansingh were halted after police ordered DNA tests to be carried out to ascertain if the charred remains found in Lutchmansingh’s burnt out house were really that of the controversial pastor.
Lutchmansingh, 54, the founder of Faith Sanctuary Family Ministries, went on a murderous rampage on Monday, shooting dead his brother Kishan Lutchmansingh, 44, and using his (Pastor Lutchmansinghs) car to knock down and drive over his nephew Joey Lutchmansingh at a garden near Kishan’s Chin Chin Road, Cunupia home.
The pastor is believed to have returned to his Savary Road, Las Lomas No. 1 home, set fire to his house and then committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest. A charred torso, was subsequently found in Pastor Lutchmansingh’s house.
However, head of Central Division, Snr Supt Johnny Abraham on Tuesday evening refused to sign the release form authorising the cremation and instead ordered the funeral which was set for yesterday, to be cancelled.
Police officers took possession of the charred corpse at Guide’s Funeral Home in Couva and sent it to the Forensic Science Centre in St James for DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) tests to be done to scientifically ascertain whether the remains are indeed that of Pastor Lutchmansingh.
Police sources yesterday revealed that Abraham decided to take this course of action based on the findings of an autopsy done on Tuesday by Pathologist Dr Hughvon des Vignes at the Science Centre, which not only confirmed cause of death to be from a single gunshot wound, but also, that the shot was fired to the back of the victim.
Police sources added that officials at the Science Centre told investigators it was virtually impossible for a person to commit suicide by shooting themself in that area of the back.
Contacted yesterday, Abraham confirmed he had in fact ordered the seizure of the corpse, saying: “This investigation has now taken on a new twist. Based on findings of the pathologist, I have ordered a further probe and as a result, we have now withheld the body from relatives pending proper DNA tests to ensure scientific verification that the charred remains are that of the pastor.”
This turn of events, according to police sources, leaves investigators with many unanswered questions including:
• Is Pastor Lutchmansingh still alive?
• If he is alive, who is the person whose charred remains were found in his house?
• If the pastor is still alive, who was the person who shot the victim in the back and why?
• If the charred remains are indeed that of Pastor Lutchmansingh, who was the person who shot him in the back and why?
• If Pastor Lutchmansingh is still alive, where is he and was the ‘John Doe’ shot dead in the burning house to make it appear that it was the pastor who committed suicide?
Investigators are hoping the DNA test results could provide the critical piece of evidence needed to solve the puzzle and create a clearer picture of the incident which took place last Monday.
However, the mystery has deepened further when it was revealed by relatives yesterday that Pastor Lutchmansingh had recently sold a piece of property for $250,000 cash, which he kept in a steel safe at his home. However, after the fire was doused on Monday, that safe was found open and there was no evidence to indicate the money was destroyed.
When Newsday visited Pastor Lutchmansingh’s Las Lomas home yesterday, officers were seen walking among the burnt ruins of the house. An officer later recorded video images with a hand held video recorder while others sifted through the rubble.
Police sources confirmed to Newsday that during the search of the burnt-out premises yesterday, police found an empty ammunition magazine, among the rubble, for a nine-millimetre calibre firearm.
As police searched the ruins of the pastor’s house, curious neighbours and other residents gathered to watch proceedings. A resident, who refused to give his name, claimed he had witnessed Lutchmansingh shoot stray dogs and even corbeaux (vultures) in the past with his licensed firearm.
Lutchmansingh’s relatives said all other forms of identification for him were destroyed in the fire and they too believe a DNA test is the only way to conclusively tell if the charred corpse is indeed his remains.
Lutchmansingh’s brother Kishan Lutchmansingh’s funeral has been set for today at Guide’s Funeral Home in Couva. Joey Lutchmansingh, Vishnu’s nephew, told Newsday the bizarre twist in events, which now casts doubt on the identity of the charred remains, has further shocked his already traumatised family.
“Every time I close my eyes, the events play over in my mind. This is feeling like I am in a nightmare. He (Pastor Lutchmansingh) did not even ask any questions when he came to visit us on Monday. He just started shooting,” Joey said yesterday.
Lutchmansingh who shot to national prominence when he claimed to have inherited a £50 billion estate from American billionaire Buford B Keaton, was out on $75,000 bail after being charged with 88 counts of fraud in 2006.
After claiming that the massive Keaton inheritance was coming his way, Lutchmansingh is alleged to have borrowed over $3 million from several persons, at different intervals, promising to repay all with interest from the inheritance.