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.
Police on Sunday unearth the remains of Babita Sarju- a woman who was last seen in the company of her husband almost seven years ago- from a shallow grave aback a house in Campbelville.
Head of the Criminal Investigations Department, Senior Superintendent Wendell Blanhum said he was satisfied that the remains were those of Babita Sarjoo that were found aback of a house at 51 Seaforth Street, Campbelville. “The remains were found at the back of a house in a shallow grave which was about three feet in depth,” he said.
Sarjoo, then an employee of BK International, went missing on October 4, 2010 when they both had left to ostensibly view a Diwali Motorcade.
He said investigators were treating the death as a homicide and that charges would be instituted against Sarjoo’s reputed husband and a friend of his. While the remains would be sent to Trinidad for DNA testing to positively link them to Sarjoo, he said police do not have to await the return of the results before laying charges. “It would not prevent us from instituting any charges. We have established a case against both suspects and we are in contact with the Police Legal Adviser from the initial stage of the investigation and very soon we’ll be able to receive her legal opinion as it relates to instituting charges against both men,” he said.
Blanhum credited the investigators with the success, saying that after “hours and days of painstaking investigation they were able to solicit crucial information which
would have led this to breakthrough.” He said police were no longer treating the matter as a missing person but it is now a homicide that they were investigating.
Months before Sarjoo’s disappearance, her reputed husband, Anand Naraine, had been acquitted of exposing nude photographs of her on vehicles and the fence at BK International.
Program Director of Caribbean American Domestic Violence Awareness (CADVA), Dianne Madray, who rushed down to the scene, told Demerara Waves Online News welcomed the breakthrough but lamented the fact that it took so long. “I am glad that we have come to this point, but unfortunately it’s a little too late with the grief and all the stuff that has to happen now…This should have been done six years ago had they listened to me when I told them to come and check this @#$%^& property, this would not have come to this point so I am very angry,” she said. Asked why she always believed that the body was buried in a shallow grave there, she said she was told there was a new structure that was
on the premises and she had asked police to ensure that they go and investigate that new structure. “It didn’t seem that the investigation was handled in the way that it should have so had we done all of this diligently, we didn’t have to go through six years of this,” he said.
Meanwhile, a custody battle could be looming over the custody of the 10-year old boy who is now at the Seaforth Street home where he, his father and his new partner now live.
Lawyers have advised Naraine’s mother that the child could not be handed over to Sarjoo’s mother unless a court order has been granted.
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