PORT OF SPAIN –– Police have released the two men they deemed “persons of interest” in the death of Shannon Banfield, however, they are not void of a suspect, rather they are trying to avoid a media circus hampering their investigations and have vowed silence as the matter progresses.
Police sources close to the case said the information pertaining to the video footage should not have been published by the media as that may have hampered their investigations, despite it being circumstantial evidence. Sources said there is another suspect and police are working diligently and silently as they gather the necessary evidence needed not only to arrest but to charge and convict the suspect.
Banfield was found beneath boxes in the storeroom at IAM and Company on Charlotte Street on December 8, three days after she went missing. Since then the store has been closed and the 12 employees rigorously questioned by Homicide detectives.
In a telephone interview yesterday owner of IAM Ishmael Ali said his employees received counselling and were also assisting the police with investigations. On his release from the Central Police Station yesterday, Dale Seecharan said the ordeal of him being labelled a suspect had “ruined his life” and he was looking forward to spending time with family. Another man of interest, Matthew Maharaj, who was released on December 10 made a similar comment saying he was branded in the public eye and questioned how he is going to move on.
On his release Seecharan said: “I am just relieved that this is over and I have nothing to do with this and I just want to thank my lawyer for everything. I am just feeling happy just to go home with my family.
Asked how he felt given that he was arrested twice following Banfield’s murder, he said: “I don’t know how to describe it, I just feel like my life take a turn for the worse and I just want to get back on to life. I have to start all over my life is ruined.”
Seecharan who was released into the custody of his attorney, Larry Williams, was taken to his St Helena home by his attorney. When asked if he had anything to say concerning his clients time in police custody Williams said, “Not one word. God is the boss”.
When asked what were his plans now that he is a free man, Seecharan said: “I can’t say”.
Banfield, of Mc Carthy Street, Cantaro Village, Santa Cruz, was last seen leaving her workplace — RBL’s Independence Square branch — around 4 p.m. on December 5. In a telephone conversation with her mother Sherry-Ann Lopez around that time, Banfield said she was going to purchase items at the same store (IAM) she was eventually found in. Banfield’s body was discovered hidden under some boxes in the company’s third floor storeroom around 1:30 p.m. on December 8 by employees who were searching for the source of a strong decomposing scent which they believe was a dead rat. Her autopsy stated she had been smothered and police recovered what they believed to be a murder weapon, a bloodied towel, near where she was found.