|ANCHOR AROUND NECK |
NALINEE SEELAL Thursday, March 16 2017
DAYS of searching for missing policewoman Nyasha Joseph ended yesterday when a Felicity fishermen, trawling for shrimp in the Gulf of Paria off Sea Lots, discovered her body stuffed head first inside a crocus bag.
Joseph’s killer went to great lengths to try and conceal her murder and had it not been for Adrian Ramjattan and his uncle deciding to fish in that particular area of the sea, her body may never have been found. Speaking with Newsday yesterday, Ramjattan said as he looked into the water to see if shrimp were taking his bait, he saw a human leg still wearing a white slipper protruding from the bag which rested on the seabed.
The 24-year-old woman, who joined the TT Police Service last November, had her hands tied behind her back and a stone secured in the knot; had two large stones and a steel anchor secured around her neck via a length of rope and had the right side of her face bashed in.
The killer’s hope was that the stones and anchor would have kept her weighed down on the seabed in the crocus bag. To make doubly sure, the killer also tied three concrete foundation blocks around the crocus bag with rope.
On seeing the leg underwater, Ramjattan and his uncle Indar Jaggernath alerted the owner of the boat who in turn contacted the police. Coast Guard divers freed Joseph’s body from the bag and took the corpse to the Tobago Ferry Terminal where it was viewed by a District Medical Officer (DMO) and ordered removed to the Forensic Sciences Centre in St James.
GOD’S WILL BODY FOUND Ramjattan told Newsday that at 11.15 am, he was trawling for shrimp when the trawling bait board hooked something underwater.
As he looked down, Ramjattan saw a foot protruding from a bag. Ramjattan said that after the police were alerted he was contacted by other police officers who asked him about his location and advised him to remain in the area until their arrival.
“If this is the woman police officer, it is truly a sad day to see how a human being could be dumped like an animal,” Ramjattan said. He added that it was God’s will to compel him to choose that area of the sea to trawl for shrimp and for the bait board to come into contact with the crocus bag.
When Newsday contacted Joseph’s mother Paula Guy, she confirmed when her daughter left home last week Thursday she was wearing a black t-shirt, a pair of jeans and white slippers on her feet.
“Tell me, did they find her body? I want to know now so I can prepare myself for when the police come to me with the official news,” Guy said.
Guy said she was told that police had found a body but they were not sure who it was. Sounding as if she was close to tears, Guy asked if Newsday could call back later. Speaking with Newsday an hour later, Guy confirmed she was contacted by police but she added, “I not going to view any body..so long they looking for my daughter and they never find her. And now they want me to go and look at my child’s body? Not me, I not doing that,” the clearly traumatised woman said.
Telling her mother she was leaving to attend to police business, PC Joseph left her Morvant home last Thursday. She never returned.
A 39-year-old Sea Lots man who was romantically linked to the mother of one, was detained hours after a missing person report was made. Joseph was last posted at Morvant Police Station.
Prior to the body being found, police mounted a major exercise in the Sea Lots area and arrested a 34-year-old man from the area in connection with PC Joseph’s death. Five others were held on outstanding warrants while in an empty lot at Production Drive officers seized 60 rounds of 7.62 ammunition.
OFFICERS IN TEARS At the Morvant police station, when news broke that Joseph’s body was found, some officers wept while others held hands and said a prayer for her.
An officer told Newsday, “This is a wake-up call for young women in society to be extremely careful who they associate with.” Police are working on a theory that Joseph was killed somewhere in Sea Lots and her body dumped at sea.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Irwin Hackshaw who was accompanied by a team of officers led by ASP Ajith Persad to the Tobago Ferry Terminal where Joseph’s body was brought to shore, told Newsday: “the Acting Police Commissioner (Stephen Williams) as well as the Executive were officially informed that the body of WPC Joseph had been found at sea.” ACP Hackshaw said the TTPS’ Victims and Support Unit will provide counselling for relatives of Joseph and her colleagues.
President of the Police Social Welfare Association (PSWA) Insp Michael Seales said, “From the look of things, it appears our worst fears have been realised. While all standard protocols have not been met, all preliminary findings suggest it is her. The Association has been deeply wounded and our heart goes out to the relatives of this young woman and her friends.
“The Association has now to shoulder the responsibility of reaching out to the members at Morvant Station and by extension the North Eastern Division to assist in providing some measure of counselling to mitigate and alleviate the emotions that have been stirred up by this loss of our colleague.
“The Association will spare no effort in trying to provide the necessary support to members of that division and more importantly the father of our lost colleague.”