A second autopsy has been ordered in Trinidad on the body of bank clerk Shannon Banfield, after the first returned with inconclusive results.
Police sources have told the T&T Guardian that Banfield’s body was discovered in an advanced stage of decomposition. Therefore, her cause of death could not be immediately determined by forensic pathologist Dr Hughvon Des Vignes at the Forensic Science Centre, St James on Friday.
A second autopsy is now due to be performed next week by one of Des Vignes’ two colleagues at the centre – Dr Valery Alexandrov or Eastlyn Burris-McDonald.
On Friday, Banfield’s relatives refused to reveal to members of the media the results of the initial autopsy, saying they wished to inform other family members first.
Meanwhile, the two IAM Company Ltd employees who worked at the Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain warehouse where Banfield’s body was found, and were later identified as persons of interest, were still being detained. The duo, Dale Seecharan and Matthew Maharaj, are from San Juan, police said.
Banfield went missing on Monday and her body was found Thursday afternoon.
In a press release on Friday, police said although investigators visited the IAM Company Limited three times after her mother reported her missing and requested CCTV footage, none was forthcoming until her body was found.
“All the other business establishments in the area where Ms Banfield was last known to have been, including Pennywise, were approached for access to their CCTV footage and this was immediately forthcoming,” the release issued by the T&T Police Service’s Public Affairs Unit said, adding that strict protocol was followed in the investigation.
However, the owner of the business Ishmael Ali is maintaining that he was cooperative with the police and that he was only contacted by them a second time on Thursday when Banfield’s body was found.
“Shortly after I got the news I start to call the police in Port-of-Spain and Senior Supt Boxhill came to my office to look at the monitors. They came around 1 pm and left after 7 p.m. We did not deny them anything. I cooperate with the police all the time,” Ali said.
“We don’t be at that store at all, so it is only staff. They [the police] could have find out who I am and come and see me and I would have helped in any way I can.”
Banfield, of Mc Carthy Street, Cantaro Village, Santa Cruz, was last seen leaving her work place — RBL’s Independence Square branch— around 4 p.m. on Monday.
In a telephone conversation with her mother Sherry-Ann Lopez around that time, Banfield had said she was leaving work to purchase items at the IAM store, where her body was discovered, hidden under some boxes in company’s third floor storeroom, around 1.30 pm on Thursday by employees who were searching for the source of a strong decomposing scent which they thought was a dead rat. Banfield’s purse and shopping bags were found near to her body.
Ali revealed on Friday that the two suspects were recently hired by his company.
“It is 50 years we in business. All of our employees have been working 19 years and 26 years, we don’t really have too much new employees like those two,” he said.
While he said the incident was very worrying, the businessman said he would be attempting to reopen the store by next week to take advantage of Christmas shoppers.
“It’s Christmas time and business has been rough so we want to open back. But the place must be fumigated first and the employees have to get some counselling because they are all shaken up,” Ali said.
He also dismissed links being made on social media between Banfield’s death and that of former employee Shenese Samuel, who disappeared after she left her Lopinot home on January 24 last year for a job interview in Port-of-Spain. Ali noted that Samuel had been laid off by the company over an incident several months before her disappearance.
Police investigations are continuing investigations in Banfield’s death, which is among over 400 murders committed in Trinidad so far this year. (Trinidad Guardian)
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