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Social media has ruined my life

Cecily Asson Tuesday, March 14 2017

A 33-YEAR-OLD Siparia hairdresser is seeking to clear her name after her photograph went viral over the weekend on social media as the person held for the recent murder of Siparia real estate agent Sylvestine “Baby” Bertrand, 87, and her daughter Kathy Ann, 51.

Yesterday, a traumatised Valene De Peiza, a mother of an eight-year-old boy and owner of Hair by Valene of High Street, Siparia told Newsday that the reckless action by some people has ruined her life since she was not the person arrested for the double murder.

One Facebook message accused De Peiza and her mother of stabbing to death the mother and daughter.

She said, “Social media has ruined my life.” The Bertrand women were murdered inside their two-storey home located at the corner of Gonzalez Street and SS Erin Road, De Gannes Village, Siparia and their bodies were discovered in an advanced state of decomposition on Carnival Monday.

Autopsies later revealed that they were stabbed to death. De Peiza said, “What was done has affected me, my family and my business because everybody know me.

I have been a hairdresser for years now in my community and don’t ask me why persons will do that because police has never spoken to me or any member of my family concerning this matter.” She said all it took was one person to start a rumour and then it spread like wildfire as she was identified as the person in police custody and later people started posting her photograph which drew comments.

It was last Thursday, following two weeks of investigation, that a 27-yearold sales clerk from the same village was detained in connection with the deaths.

However, when contacted yesterday, a senior police officer confirmed that the woman was to be released yesterday pending further investigations.

Using her phone, De Peiza displayed one of several messages and photographs which appeared on Facebook.

The message read: “after finding out you got locked up for the recent murder in Siparia, my trust issues just went up by 100.

You really cannot trust people.

Playing you can’t mash ants but you and your mother stab up the people.” As a result of the posts on social media, De Peiza said she posted a message on her timeline which read: “Good morning fb people. Well I haven’t laughed as hard as I did this morning when I hear about this rumour circling around in Siparia.

Hmmm.. people again it’s not true Ok. Do enjoy your day.” She said since the photograph went viral, she has been inundated with calls from relatives and friends both home and abroad.

She said persons were worried that she was really locked up for murder.

De Peiza, who turned 33 yesterday, said she did not celebrate the occasion because of the rumours.

“I have not eaten or slept since Friday when news spread that I was held for the murder.” De Peiza said she lives on the same street as the Bertrands.

She is baffled as to why she was identified as the person and why her photograph was posted on Facebook.

She said she first heard that it was her mother, Jacqueline Villafana, who was detained and soon after rumours started that Villafana was released and police held her.

Yesterday, De Peiza said she walked through the town to convince people she was not in custody.

“It is not a nice feeling,” she said. “I had to speak to my son’s teacher because I am afraid what this could do to him.” She said as she walked the streets yesterday persons were pointing fingers in her direction.

She said she will be considering her legal options and intends to report the matter to the Cyber Crime Unit.

“Persons must not get away with this.” Sylvestine owned several commercial and residential properties in Siparia and environs.

Her daughter moved back to Trinidad a few years ago to live with her. They were devout Catholics.

Following the murder several persons were questioned and statements taken.

With the release of the suspect, investigators

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