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Burning body found in pickup van
Less than 15 minutes after a Freeport Sunday school teacher called her husband screaming for help, police found her burning corpse in her pickup in Chaguanas. The body of 43-year-old Jennifer Ali, a labourer at the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation, was found slumped in the backseat of her white Isuzu D-max pickup, shortly after 8 am, at Taradath Road, Carlsen Field.
Firefighters had to extinguish the blaze before crime scene investigators could examine corpse. The limbs were burnt off. Relatives believe the mother of two was murdered because of a dispute over a family property in Longdenville. No one was arrested yesterday but investigators said they are close to an arrest.
According to police, Ali left her Cemetery Street, Freeport, home for work around 6 am, which was an hour later than usual. They said when she reached Todd’s Road Junction she was hijacked by two gunmen. The men bundled her into the back seat and while one of them drove her pickup, the other followed in a car. During the abduction, Ali managed to make a quick call to her husband, Hyder Ali, who then alerted Freeport police.
Relatives and neighbours joined police in a massive search. However, the search was soon over when Hyder got news that his wife’s pickup was found. Scores of relatives, friends and co-workers gathered at Ali’s home to console her mother, Nendreni Ali, while her husband and their two children were are the Forensic Science Centre awaiting the autopsy results.
An autopsy was expected to be performed by pathologist Dr Eastlyn Mac Donald Borris yesterday, but police said DNA testing is needed to positively identify the body. Ali’s pastor Bickram Singh likened her to Mother Theresa, saying she would go out of her way to ensure that all her neighbours and friends were comfortable. “This is a woman we called the Mother Theresa of Trinidad,” Singh said.
“She would take people to the doctor. If you had to make groceries, she would make it for them. She would help the elderly whenever they had something to do. She was a Sunday school teacher and the women’s group leader in our church. Once she is absent from anything, everyone would know.” Afrose Manny, Ali’s sister-in-law, said it was only on Wednesday night that they were planning to visit another family member in Port-of-Spain. She said at no time did Ali complain of any threats to her life.
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