KINGSTON –– Befuddled residents of Portland Cottage in Clarendon were yesterday still trying to piece together the puzzle behind the brutal slaying of a ten-year-old boy in their community.
The rotting body of Juvea Cooper was found Sunday morning buried behind a house in a shallow grave — with its throat slashed and one of an arm severed — four days after the boy was reported missing. The boy’s severed arm was found in a separate grave at the front of the house.
His death has left the community in shock, with concerned residents questioning what could have motivated someone to carry out such a heinous act.
“A from last Thursday him go missing and mi go mek a report to the police. All during that time I was hoping and praying that nothing had happened to my child,” Juvea’s mother Tamieka Richards told the Jamaica Observer yesterday, noting that all the while she had harboured hopes that her child — one of five — would be found alive.
But her hopes would turn to grief Sunday when Juvea’s remains were found.
Yesterday, the police told the Observer that three people had since been held in connection with the boy’s killing.
“Two women and a man have been brought in for questioning into this matter,” Assistant Superintendent of Police Sherika Service said during a tour of the area.
But, while the police said they were yet to establish the motive behind the killing, angry residents alleged there could be an element of witchcraft behind the crime.
“Based on what wi hearing, is witchcraft. When dem see the situation a get bad dem bury him body,” said one resident, as others alleged that there was a noticeable increase in John Crows in the vicinity of the house behind were the body was found.
But Juvea’s mother would only divulge that she was involved in an argument with the two female suspects before the whole incident.
She said the argument started after her son threw a stone that broke a window at the home of the suspects. She alleged that the women demanded that the windows be replaced before the end of the day and went on to issue threats against her and her son.
Yesterday, the police said they would not comment on the supposed threats and allegations of witchcraft, but said they would be investigating “all angles” as they tried to close the case.