KINGSTON — Police are probing the circumstances surrounding the apparent murder/suicide of a soldier and an early childhood school principal in the quiet community of Hope Village, Williamsfield.
Police, relatives and neighbours identified the dead couple as Gail Anderson, 42-year-old principal of Hope Village Early Childhood Institution, and her common-law husband John Williams a Jamaica Defence Force sergeant.
Police report that Anderson’s relatives found the bodies shortly after 3:00 pm on Thursday in the bedroom of their home, less than 50 metres from the school which Anderson led. Relatives gained entry to the house and then broke down the locked door of the bedroom after seeing blood stains, reports said.
The Jamaica Observer was told that neighbours heard explosions some time after midnight early Thursday. However, those who heard the sounds apparently failed to make the association with foul play and did not call the police.
Anderson’s body was reportedly found on the bed, relatives told the Observer. Williams lay on the floor. His licensed firearm was found under his body, police said. Both bodies were said to have what resembled gun shot wounds to the head.
When the Observer visited the scene late afternoon yesterday, a large crowd watched from behind police yellow caution tape as investigators, including scene of crime specialists, examined the premises and conducted interviews.
Speaking in hushed tones, onlookers, many of them parents and guardians of children at Hope Village Early Childhood, as well as a few soldiers, said there had been no warning of the tragedy since Williams and Anderson appeared to be a loving, caring couple.
Observer circulation contractor Errol Anderson, a brother of the dead educator, said he was in total shock.
“He [Williams] was such a nice, humble guy . . . all now mi can’t believe it,” he said.
Neighbours and friends described Anderson as a “nice lady” and an exemplary educator, neighbour and community leader.
Some fretted about how to break the news to the children, now on Easter holiday. The children would be traumatised, they said.
“She was a jovial and nice person; no matter what stress she under, she don’t take it out on anyone,” one neighbour said.
“She was well-loved and always had a smile,” said another.
And a parent claimed Anderson loved the children at her school. “She used to say all the children are her children,” the parent said.
They had less to say about the soldier, who, because of his job, was often absent. However, they described him as always supportive and caring towards Anderson. All seemed to agree that their perception of Williams and Anderson provided no warning of Thursday’s tragedy.