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Homicide detectives say there is no definite link between the murder of state witness Ricaldo “Po-Po Charlie” Sanchez and his being a chief witness in a murder case. In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, head of the Homicide Bureau ACP Wayne Dick said the police are following several leads and doing a thorough investigation. Dick said so far Sanchez’s killing did not appear to be linked to his eyewitness testimony.
Sanchez, 51, was due to appear in the Siparia Magistrates Court on Monday to testify in the preliminary inquiry into the murder of Kwasi “President” Chakumba-Muraldo on December 28, 2010. Fermin Carrabai is charged with Chakumba-Muraldo’s murder. Chakumba-Muraldo, the father of four, was shot while waiting for transport to a seismic survey site in the forested area of Erin.
Relatives of Sanchez blamed the State for failing him after he repeatedly complained of being threatened. Relatives said Sanchez was told to come to court on Monday when his issue would be addressed. Police sources said Sanchez reported threats against his life but when he was offered witness protection he refused. Told of that, Dick said the police had no way of compelling anyone to be in the witness protection programme, adding that some measure of protection could be afforded but not for 24 hours.
He added that the police were interviewing civilians and police alike in connection with reports that Sanchez said he had been threatened. He added other people who were neither suspects nor persons of interest have been interviewed. Sanchez, a part-time electrician with Petrotrin, went missing around 10 pm on Saturday after leaving his Los Charos, Palo Seco, home to play music at Station 22 Bar at Los Charos Junction. After the bar closed, he went to a party next door.
On Sunday morning, when he did not return home, his wife, Mahalia Floyd, went in search of him and found his jersey, shoes and bicycle near the junction. A report was made to the Santa Flora Police who even got Petrotrin to empty a pond during their search. Around 7.45 am on Monday a Petrotrin crew was on their way to work when they found Sanchez’s body in the road near Skinner Trace Extention, Siparia. Police, led by Snr Supt Cyril Harry and Insp Granger, found him lying face-up with a gunshot wound to the back of the head.