Investigators crack three murder cases

POSTED: 04/19/11 11:27 AM

Breakthrough in Guillevin, Louis and Nova Valdez investigations

St. Maarten – The arrest of three suspects in two violent robberies and a rape on April 7 produced an unexpected bonus when a detective working at the special Robbery Unit spotted similarities between these cases and the so-called Regatta-murders of Cheetah Moon chef Ludevic Guillevin on February 26, and Foidel Louis and Emilio Nova Valdez on March 4. Two of the suspects confessed to the three murders.

The three suspects are S.R., 20, C.A.R., 31, and J.B.S., 28; all are born in Dominica. The first two have confessed to the robberies, the rape and the three murders; the third suspect fenced stolen goods. The police force and the public prosecutor’s office now consider six crimes solved, but the investigation continues and it is possible that the suspects may have been involved in even more crimes.

The men pretended to operate a gypsy taxi service as a cover for picking up potential victims. If victims did not want to get in their car they were sometimes forced. They were ill-treated in the car, and then taken to a deserted place where they were robbed and, in at least one case, raped.

Solved are the so-called Zoo-case and the Etna-case, violent robberies that took place on February 12 and 13 respectively, the Aqua-rape case (February 12), and the three murders mentioned above.

At a well attended press conference at the police station, attended by Dutch and French-side media, Chief Prosecutor Mr. Hans Mos and Chief Commissioner Peter de Witte provided background on the spectacular development.

“Senior detectives from the special Robberies Unit added very valuable information to the regatta-investigation,” Mos said. “They pointed out that in recent weeks and months on similar locations a series of serious crimes had been committed. The regatta-investigation team focused on three police reports concerning two violent robberies and a rape. During this side step investigation stolen goods could be tracked to three suspects. That led to the suspicion that these three men were involved in the robberies and the rape.”

Once the suspects were identified, located, and finally arrested on April 7, detectives started to interrogate the men. After they confessed to the robberies and the rape on February 12 and 13, detectives quizzed them about the three murders. “One after the other started to give detailed information about the crimes in Mullet Bay, Cay Hill and the Cakehouse Road. Sometimes they were implying a co-suspect, sometimes they admitted to their own role.”

While the Chief Prosecutor and the Chief commissioner expressed their satisfaction about the results of the investigation, they also are convinced that there is more to come. “We have reason to believe that these suspects are responsible for more violent crimes,” Mos said.

Together with De Witte called upon possible victims of yet unreported robberies and rapes to file a complaint to the police, or to call 542 22 22, or 542 27 21.

The three suspects appeared before the investigating Judge yesterday morning and were remanded in custody for 8 days. “They are under full restrictions and are only allowed to talk to their lawyer,” Mos said.

Chief Commissioner De Witte said that the current state of the investigation was a good opportunity “to extend our deepest gratitude to those who have come to assist the police during these difficult times. Four fatal crimes in a time frame of less than eight days is a situation the understaffed police force cannot handle on its own.”

This is why the Attorney General approved the establishment of a TGO, a Team Grootschalig Onderzoek (a large scale investigation team). The team consisted of members from the local police force, the forces in Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, the RST, the Royal Marechaussee and the French side gendarmerie.

Dutch forensic specialists were flown in to support the forensic investigation. The customs Department, the fire department, the Coast Guard and the VKS also contributed to the investigation, as did Dutch marines who helped with crime scene investigation, and of course the prosecutor’s office.

De Witte also complimented “the loyal people of St. Maarten”: “We thank them for their patience and their confidence. Case by case police start to show that by cooperating strongly with its partners even the most serious crimes can be overcome. Police also shows that by learning on the job the success rate of solving crimes is steadily going up. The times that one could get away with these serious crimes tends to be over.”

De Witte said that the investigation is not over yet and that the assistance from police officers from abroad will still be needed for some time.

The Chief Commissioner also commemorated “the enormous grief of those who lost their loved ones, or who have been seriously injured, both physically and mentally.”

During the investigation, the suspects voluntarily surrendered DNA-samples. A black sports utility vehicle was impounded. This car fit the description given by the victim in the February 12 rape case. In the car, investigators found a small gold earring. So far, they have not been able to trace its owner. If the owner recognizes her earring, police ask her to step forward, and to reclaim her property. Police suspect that the earring’s owner is possibly another victim of the detained suspects.

 

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