POLICE CLOTHES FOUND CLOSE TO TRIPPLE MURDER
A dealer searching a derelict pick-up for parts near the Chaguanas home of murder victims Michael “Gaza” Applewhite, his common-law wife Michelle Harrylal and another man believed to be a neighbour known as “Reddo”, discovered a blue shirt with the word “Police” printed twice.
The man told the T&T Guardian yesterday that he found the worn-out, blue shirt in a black plastic bag that was tucked in the wheel well of the pickup. The word “Police” was printed on the back and chest area of the shirt and had a stain on it that he believed was blood.
Homicide detectives and crime scene investigators returned to the Carlsen Field crime scene and took the shirt into evidence yesterday. However, the officers said they will also have to check whether the shirt was planted there yesterday to throw off their investigation.
Residents said yesterday that the discovery had given credence to the story given by a four-year-old boy who escaped the gruesome murders. They were told by the child that a policeman had dragged Harrylal, 27, out of her house and beat her. However, they said the murders may not have been necessarily committed by police officers, as other individuals have access to uniforms of the security forces through different means.
A resident told the T&T Guardian that a hit was called from behind prison walls against Applewhite, 35, a vegetable vendor who had several previous charges for drug possession. He said the man was a former lover of Harrylal and became enraged last December when he was released from prison and learned she had moved on and was living with Applewhite. Neighbours recalled that the man and Applewhite had an altercation. Within two weeks of being released, however, the man was arrested on warrants and has been in prison since then.
A few residents yesterday contradicted initial reports that the incident happened at night, saying it was around noon on Wednesday that they saw the fire. However, they said it was normal for people to burn garbage outside their homes.
“Michelle came here to live with this next man and the fella in jail did not like that. The same man who did this was tight with the man in jail. It easy to understand, the person who did this knew exactly where to come because look how far they live in the bush. The person who did this even know that the people living near the entrance here went to church and that nobody else was around,” the resident said.
The charred bodies of Applewhite, Harrylal and another man were found on Thursday morning after a resident walking along the road found the four-year-old boy wandering the road. When they reached further along the road, the child met another neighbour and allegedly told her: “My mammy dead, my mammy dead. A policeman kill she and throw she in the fire.”
Pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov yesterday could not determine the cause of death after testing the charred remains. This means police will not list the deaths as murder. Alexandrov said based on the pelvic bones two of the remains were male and one female. He added that the remains were essentially ashes, adding that the bones were so brittle from the heat they could disintegrate to ash when touched. He added that there were no bullets found in the remains and there was no way of knowing if the trio were stabbed or chopped.
Alexandrov said he collected bone marrow samples from the remains and collected comparable DNA samples from relatives of Harrylal to confirm identity. He added that while there is no cause of death, it was most likely that the trio were murdered and the shack torched to destroy evidence. The remains are being kept at the FSC and should be released when the identification of the deceased are confirmed.