The Caribbean American Domestic Violence Awarness (CADVA) organisation has unveiled a miniature sculpture of domestic violence victim, Babita Sarjou, whose skeletal remains were found earlier this year in a shallow grave in her husband’s backyard.
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hitman paid $50,000, promised trip to T&T
grave dug two days before murder
By Michael Jordan and Romila Boodram
For close to six years, Sharadananda Narine ate and slept in his Lot 51, Seaforth Street residence, seemingly undisturbed by the fact that his reputed wife, Babita Sarjou, lay buried in a shallow grave in his backyard.
But that gruesome secret came to light just before 14.00 hrs yesterday, when detectives unearthed Sarjou’s skeletal remains on the same property.
Digging for some five hours in a water-logged area, detectives, aided by several recruits, first located the murdered woman’s rib-cage, in a three-foot-deep grave that 38-year-old Sharadananda Narine, called ‘Anand’, and his alleged accomplice, Darel Pronton, called ‘Yankee,’ had led them to after hours of interrogation.
They then dug up a skull, several bones, a pair of high-heeled shoes, a brassiere, and bits of clothing from the same spot.
Hours later, detectives brought a shackled Anand Narine, with head bowed, and his alleged hit-man, Dorel Pronton, out of the yard, to separate police vehicles.
The discovery, played out before several shocked neighbours, brought an end to years of agony for Babita Sarjou’s family, who had been wondering about her fate since she vanished without trace on November 4, 2010.
At the scene yesterday, a clearly elated Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum commended his investigators for cracking the case.
“After hours and days of painstaking investigation, they were able to solicit crucial information which would have led to this breakthrough. This is no longer a missing person (case), but it is homicide that we are investigating.
“The remains were found in the back of the house in a shallow grave which was about three feet in depth. So far, we believe the body is that of Babita Sarjou, nevertheless to be 100 percent certain that it is that of Babita Sarjou.
“We will need to do DNA tests. We have already obtained samples from the remains and relatives and we will be sending it to Trinidad this week or early next week.
“It will not prevent us from instituting any charges. We have established a case against both suspects and we are in contact with the police Legal Advisor from the initial stage of the investigation and very soon we will be able to receive her legal opinion as it relates to instituting charges.”
Police hinted at a breakthrough late last week after detaining Sarjou’s estranged husband, Sharadananda Narine, and Darel Pronton, a 35-year-old unemployed man from James and Albouys Street, Albouystown.
Evidence against the men allegedly includes statements and phone calls that Narine made to Pronton with Sarjou’s cell phone shortly after she disappeared.
$50,000 and trip to Trinidad
As for a motive, Kaieteur News understands that Sarjou’s husband has stated that he was furious because he suspected that she was having an affair with a man at her workplace. He was also angry that she had taken him to court on allegations that he had posted up nude pictures of her.
It is alleged that he hired the unemployed Pronton, whom he had befriended, to kill Sarjou. Pronton was allegedly paid $50,000 and promised a trip to Trinidad. The trip to Trinidad never materialised.
It is alleged that on the Diwali Night of November 4, 2010, Babita Sarjou left her mother’s home at Timehri, after making arrangements to meet her spouse, Narine, who would take her to see the motorcade at the Kitty seawall. She was also reportedly to meet her four-year-old son.
Unknown to Sarjou, Narine and Pronton had already dug her grave in Narine’s Seaforth Street backyard, two days before.
Sarjou reportedly met her husband outside the National Cultural Centre and entered his car. It is around this same area that Pronton, who was allegedly sitting in the back seat, strangled Sarjou.
With the body covered with a blanket, the two men reportedly then drove to Narine’s Seaforth Street residence. Narine reportedly reversed into the yard, and the men concealed the body in a section of the bottom house, while Pronton remained with the corpse. At around midnight, the two men then took the body to the backyard and threw it over a zinc fence and into the grave.
It remained there for close to six years, with detectives reportedly within a few feet of the corpse on one occasion while searching the premises shortly after her disappearance.
But over the years, Sarjou’s relatives, with assistance from the Caribbean American Domestic Awareness Organization (CADVA), pressed relentlessly to have the case re-opened.
Police said that the two alleged killers reportedly panicked when police revealed recently that they were reopening their investigation.
Narine reportedly enquired from his alleged accomplice if he knew of any substance that could dissolve human bones.
While police have received criticism for the way they conducted their investigation during its early stages, an official said that Narine had presented investigators with a strong alibi for his whereabouts at the time his wife had vanished.
Kaieteur News was told that things were no less challenging this time around, since Narine came into custody with an attorney. But Kaieteur News was told that police put in a lot of preparation into their case before taking the suspects into custody.
Speaking about the tedious work the ranks did to crack the case and retrieve the body, the Crime Chief revealed that the suspects had indicated on Saturday where they had buried Sarjou.
To ensure that no one tampered with the remains, police kept the premises under surveillance.
He said that the grave was located in a flooded area, and the ranks had to pump the water out and also place sand-bags. Digging for the body began at around 08.00 hrs yesterday and concluded at around 13.50 hrs.
Caption: SOLVED! Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum and his men leaving the scene (babita body 6)
By Alexis Rodney
− estranged husband confesses to murdering, burying her in yard
Following the discovery of skeletal remains in his Seaforth Street, Campbellville yard on Sunday afternoon,
Anand Narine, the estranged husband of missing BK International employee Babita Sarjou, along with an accomplice, confessed to killing the woman and burying her body in the three- foot shallow grave.
Police Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum confirmed with Guyana Times, that although he was confident of the identity of the remains, Police would still carry out DNA testing to confirm that the skeletal remains was indeed hers. Samples will be sent shortly to neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) for testing.
According to Blanhum, Police began questioning both Sarjou’s estranged husband and another man said to be his close friend, who were currently in custody. He said based on the information received from the two men, Police descended on the home, where a search was mounted with the help of neighbours and relatives.
It was during the search that investigators came upon what appeared to be a shallow grave. Digging further, they came upon two bones. A little later, Police found the most of the skeletal remains. Pieces of clothing were also found in the grave.
The Crime Chief said that both men would soon be charged, as they have both, during interrogation, admitted to playing a role in the woman’s death. He said the matter would no longer be treated as a “missing person” but homicide.
Blanhum said he was very pleased with this breakthrough, and thanked the investigators who have been working on it for the last six years.
Sarjou, 28, mother of a now 10-year-old son, who had lived at Timehri Public Road, East Bank Demerara, left her desk and computer unattended at work in November 2010 –never to return. Her family and the Police had since been seeking her.
Police made the dreadful discovery some two days after taking into custody the woman’s husband and another close friend of hers, after informing her mother, Champa Seonarine that they were reopening the case.
In early April, Seonarine, along with officials from the Caribbean American Domestic Violence Awareness (CADVA) organisation, had again petitioned for the case to be reopened. Seonarine said all she needed was some closure. “Whether Babita is dead or not, I need to find her,” her mom had told the media, fighting back tears.
“I need closure to this case, and I am calling on each and every one out there who knows something about Babita, that they have a heart and some feelings and come out and say something,” Seonarine, who now resides in the United States, pleaded.
She said her family believed that her daughter’s estranged husband had something to do with her disappearance.
Reports are that there were several instances of domestic violence and reports made to both Kitty and Timehri Police Stations.
Sarjou disappeared the night before Diwali in 2010.
“She said to me ‘mammi I’d be home at 9’o clock’ that night, but Babita never showed up,” the mother sobbed.
No one has any idea what occurred between Babita and her husband on the night of the Diwali motorcade. Seonarine said Anand has never spoken to them concerning that night. In 2010, the Police held him for questioning for 72 hours and then released him.
During the investigations, samples of an undergarment were sent to Trinidad and Tobago for DNA testing, but, according to Seonarine, no results ever came back.
Meanwhile, CADVA head Diane Madray said while Guyana did not have a law for missing persons, the organisation was hoping to have a bill passed in memory of Sarjou.
Madray said the law, which the organisation hopes to name the Babita Sarjou Missing Person’s Law, should be considered as there is a need to take Sarjou’s case and set precedence so that change could be made.
She added that Sarjou’s disappearance was marked as a case without a trace and the organisation has been working closely with her family to advocate for the reopening of an investigation with Director of Public Prosecutions, Shalimar Ali-Hack.
By Rabindra Rooplall
A MISSING person case quickly turned to homicide as the skeletal remains of a person, believed to be Babita Sarjou who disappeared six years ago, was discovered in the backyard of her reputed husband’s Lot 51 Seaforth Street, Campbellville, Georgetown property on Sunday.
Police had the property under surveillance for days, after arresting Sarjou’s husband, Anand Narine, and his alleged accomplice. On Sunday morning, detectives unearthed a skull, bones, and pieces of clothing from a three-foot-deep grave, having smashed through concrete to access it.
Narine’s alleged accomplice had led police to the spot, and he was brought to the scene while the remains were extracted. After the evidence was found, sleuths placed the handcuffed duo into a police vehicle and whisked them away. Babita’s now ten-year-old son was peering out the window as police excavated her remains.
On November 4, 2010, Sarjou, 28, left home after telling her mother, Champa Seonarine, that she would be meeting her estranged husband and four-year-old son at the Kitty Seawall to view the annual Diwali motorcade. She was expected to return to her mother’s Timehri, EBD home later that night, but was never seen again.
In an interview with the media, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum commended the investigators who, after painstaking inquiries, were able to solicit crucial information which led to a breakthrough in the case.
“No longer are we treating this as a missing person (case), it is now a homicide that we are investigating. The remains were found at the back of the house in a shallow grave which was about three feet in depth. So far, we believe that it is the body of Babita Sarjoo,” he disclosed.
He explained that a DNA test will be done to enable the police to determine with certainty the identity of the skeletal remains.
“We have already obtained samples from the remains, and it will be sent to Trinidad soon, so we can have the case dealt with in an expeditious manner,” he noted.
Underscoring that the police have incriminating evidence against both suspects in custody, the Crime Chief said the police legal advisor has been looking at the case from the initial stage of the investigation, and very soon the police will be able to receive a legal opinion relative to instituting charges against both men.
Questioned about relatives making allegations about the way the police were executing their duties, Blanhum said that if the relatives have an allegation to make against the investigators or the police, such can be channeled through the Police Complaints Authority.
In an interview with the Guyana Chronicle, Champa Seonarine said all her suspicions were on spot, as she had a gut feeling that her daughter was buried inside the yard.
“Since Babita go missing I keep talking this thing. This is not the way Babita should have been gone. Anand got buildings in there which he was renting, and he had my daughter washing loads of bed sheets, and he asked her not to even break a voice to the girls that were in the apartments,” a tearful Seonarine said.
She explained that when Babita got married in 2004, she visited her two weeks later and upon her arrival at the home, the gate was padlocked.
Mrs Seonarine said her daughter had to contact Anand to get the gate opened and she suspected something was wrong when he used derogatory remarks in her presence. After that experience, her daughter always complained of having a turbulent relationship.
“When I call his mother to talk about Babita and Anand (with intention) to fix their relationship, the mother said to me on the phone that ‘y’al should see with he, because he get into an accident and he get brain damage, and how he head ain’t good,” the mother lamented.
She said that Anand’s mother knows a lot pertaining to her son’s evil and wicked actions.
“Imagine one of his aunties from Brazil told Babita that there will be many things he will do to her. She didn’t deserve this; if he know they couldn’t have lived (together), he should have left her,” the woman declared.
As it relates to her grandson, who is now ten years old, Mrs Seonarine said she was never allowed to see him. Reflecting on an occasion when she had visited the child’s school just to see him and express her joy, she said the headmistress had allowed the visit, but the child returned home and disclosed to his father that he had seen his grandmother.
“Anand meet Babita and tell her he don’t want nobody going to the school to see (the boy) again because bad things will happen. We had to just give it up. Imagine I tried talking to him February last, but he wouldn’t talk,” she said sadly.
“The family is not one that anybody can trust. These are people you should not keep on earth anymore. I wish they could bring back hanging in Guyana, because is just waste time for the Government to mind dem in prison, and when they come out they doing the same things over and over,” the woman vented.
She stressed that once Anand is found guilty, he should be hanged. Although criticising Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud, who was the Crime Chief when her daughter disappeared, Mrs Seonarine nevertheless praised the detectives and the Police Force, especially Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum, whom she noted was the real force behind the investigations.
“Now we have a new Government in place, a new Crime Chief, but I don’t have any confidence in the present Commissioner of Police. I want to thank the police and all who put out their work to have justice prevail. They did a good job, especially the Crime Chief Blanhum,” she noted.
On the fateful night that the woman disappeared, family members had attempted to her on her two mobile phones, but they appeared to have been turned off.
Mrs Seonarine said she first informed ranks at the Timehri Police Station about her daughter’s disappearance, then made a similar report at the Kitty Police Station. That led to police detaining and questioning a man and searching his home and septic tank. They had also searched two other homes, but found no trace of the missing woman. Checks with Immigration officials showed no record of her leaving Guyana.
In 2014, police requested DNA samples from Sarjou’s mother after finding the skeletal remains of an unidentified woman on a Berbice foreshore.
Before her disappearance, Sarjou had filed harassment case against her husband, but the matter was subsequently dismissed. Her husband was accused of plastering copies of a nude picture of Sarjou on the fence of her workplace at BK International.
The couple was not together at the time, and according to her mother, it was the fourth time that Sarjou had left her husband, and she had vowed not to return even though he was keeping her son away from her.
The couple was being counselled at the Ministry of Human Services, and Sarjou was told that if she wanted to file for custody of her son, she had to empower herself by being gainfully employed. It was this that drove her to find a job, and for months she had worked at the company, where she was described as a hard worker.
Instead of being embarrassed and cowed into silence, Babita had reported the matter of the nude pictures’ display to the police, leading to them instituting the charge against Narine.
The day Babita disappeared had marked three months since the nude printouts were plastered outside her workplace. Earlier this month, top cop Seelall Persaud and Crime Chief Blanhum met with Champa Seonarine and formally notified her that police had reopened investigations into her daughter’s disappearance.
The Caribbean American Domestic Awareness Organisation (CADVA), a human rights organisation, has been pressing the police to have the Sarjou case reopened. Chief Operations Officer Dianne Madray had criticised the police for the investigation.
“Every little clue they get, the organisation would forward the information to the police,” she said. “When she disappeared, we gave her phone to the police, where she was threatened. We showed them Facebook messages, but none of those things can be found now,” the woman said.
Madray said that CADVA had appealed to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali- Hack, for assistance. Madray also said she had sent a letter to Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan, and on March 29 last, she received a response.
On Sunday, Madray and a tearful Mrs Seonarine stood on the roadway looking into the yard where the remains believed to be that of Babita were found. In tears, she loudly declared in the direction of Narine’s house, sending a message to his present wife that nothing good would come of their relationship, since only an ill fate lies ahead for him.