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No more protests, says family of dead soldier
The family of Lance Cpl Curtis Marshall, the soldier who was found strangled at Defence Force Headquarters, Chaguaramas, on Saturday night, say they will not continue with protests. Instead the family was due to host a candlelight vigil on the Eastern Main Road, San Juan, last night.
It was expected to begin at the Croisee and continue to the family’s home in Petit Bourg. On Tuesday morning, Marshall’s family, friends and neighbours staged fiery protests near their home, blocking several roads with burning tyres and debris. Police had to be summoned to disperse the protesters and clear the roads.
In a telephone interview yesterday evening, Marshall’s brother, Dennis, said his family members were persuaded to stop the protest after they had a meeting with several senior Defence Force officers. Among those at the meeting, which was held yesterday morning, were civil-military affairs officer Major Al Alexander and Captain Richard Lynch.
Dennis Marshall said: “The meeting was good. They assured us that there would not be any cover-up in the investigation of my brother’s death.” Dennis warned, however, that his family would still be keeping a close eye on the investigation, which is being done by the Region One Homicide Bureau and Western Division Police.
He said protests might resume if his family was not satisfied with the progress of the investigation. He also expressed a desire to file a civil lawsuit against the T&T Regiment. Marshall, 30, the father of one, died at the Seventh Day Adventist Community Hospital in Cocorite shortly after midnight last Saturday.
According to initial reports, around 11.40 pm he was found lying near the clothing and equipment stores at Defence Force Headquarters. An autopsy at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, on Monday by forensic pathologist Dr Eastlyn McDonald-Burris said he died from asphyxia consistent with strangulation. That autopsy report also said Marshall had marks of violence to his neck.
A second autopsy on Tuesday performed by Dr Hubert Daisley at the SD Simpson Funeral Home, Eastern Main Road, Laventille, at the family’s request, corroborated the first. The second autopsy report also said Marshall had marks of violence to his head which suggested he had been kicked several times.
Sources close to the investigation revealed yesterday that investigators have reviewed footage from the CCTV cameras at the base on Airways Road where Marshall was found. The video footage was found to be inconclusive, as it only showed Marshall collapsing after coming out of a door nearby, police sources said.
Since Marshall’s mysterious death, all the officers who were on duty at the base at the time have been confined to barracks to allow police and military investigators to interview them. Marshall enlisted in the T&T Regiment a little over eight years ago and was assigned to the Payroll Department.
His funeral is scheduled for 10 am tomorrow at the family’s home at Ryan Street, San Juan. He will be then be interred at the St James Military Cemetery, Long Circular Road, St James.
Meanwhile, the Defence Force annual cocktail reception scheduled for tomorrow at 7 pm at the venue where Marshall was found dead has been cancelled. The annual reception was cancelled as a mark of respect for the soldier’s death, said Major Alexander yesterday.
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