PORT OF SPAIN –– Just over 36 hours after she was reported missing, the semi-nude body of Sharlene Somai was found in an overgrown Estate Management Business Development (EMBD) housing development at Petersfield, Chaguanas, just about three minutes away from her home.
It is believed the 23-year-old mother of a four-year-old boy was strangled to death, as there was a thin cord tied tightly around her neck and a plastic bag over her head. She was found face down wearing only a bra and blouse.
The discovery was made shortly after 1 p.m. by Crime Watch talk show host Ian Alleyne and cameraman Russell Basdeo. The T&T Guardian was told Alleyne received an anonymous tip and went to the area, where they saw the body among some dried shrubs.
Alleyne called a close male relative of Somai to the scene and he positively identified the body. The relative was later taken by police to the Chaguanas station for questioning.
Somai was last seen at her Petersfield Main Road, Chaguanas home at about 7.30 pm. Somai told relatives she was going to a nearby parlour to purchase items for her food establishment but never reached. Her cellphone was found the following day at 8 am by relatives. It is believed she was abducted from the compound she had been renting for the past three years. Somai lived there with her two brothers, Christopher and Anthony, mother Kamla, 35-year-old common-law-husband Suraj and her son Tyler Toolsie.
Somai’s aunt, Wendy Singh, said after they found her cellphone they began to panic.
“My sister [referring to Kamla, Somai’s mother] realised that at that point she never got their calls and when further checks were made they found out that she never even reached the parlour, so whoever took her must have taken her from right home there and her cellphone fell while they were taking her away,” Singh said.
“I was told that while she left to go to the parlour, the child father went to bathe him and prepare him for bed. It was about 9 p.m. the boy father came out saying that he fell asleep and asked her mother for her, but was told that she didn’t return from the parlour yet. We didn’t find this unusual then because it was normal for her to go there and lime a little bit. Minutes to midnight he woke up again and asked her brother for her, but still no one had seen her and he thought she may have gone out.”
Christopher said he shared a special bond with his sister and was very close to her. He added that he could not think why anyone would want to harm her as she was a “very kind and loving person who loved to socialise with everyone.”
“She never had any enemies and was loved by all, so all this is so very strange,” he said.
Her other brother, Anthony, said he believes she was killed because of envy and jealousy, “because I cannot really think of anything else as to why she was killed like that.”
At the scene yesterday, relatives screamed in grief and were inconsolable. One relative was heard saying as she cried: “Her mother worked hard to see about her children. Nobody knows how she get big so, nobody knows and why they had to take someone who doesn’t belong to them. Why!”
Chaguanas Mayor Gopaul Boodhan, who was at the scene, told the T&T Guardian the discovery came as a shock, especially given the fact that he was hosting a session with senior officials of the Central Police Division and foreign stakeholders on how to keep the community safe and secure at the same time her body was discovered.
“I think the country is in crisis and the Minister of National Security should bring out the army and the police. I am asking the minister to listen to the cries of the people because things like these rip communities apart,” Boodhan said.
The murder toll stood at 112 up to last evening.