One month ago, mother of two, Debe hairstylist Ria Sookdeo, kissed her children goodbye as she dropped them off at school.
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Autopsy on murdered mother of three: Couva teacher knew her killer
The autopsy on 33-year-old mother of three Julie Duke-Guerrero gave signs that the pre-school teacher knew her attacker. In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov said she had one stab wound in the right side of the neck, eight centimetres deep. He added that her legs were tied with pyjama pants and her hands tied with a scarf. “There was not a single scratch suggesting self-defence... (that) she did not offer any resistance implies that she knew and trusted her killer,” Alexandrov said.
Duke-Guerrero, who lived at Cemetery Street, Perseverance Village, Couva, was found dead on her bed at 4.30 pm by her 18-year-old brother, who checked in on her after she failed to show at work that day and did not answer her cellphone. She was last seen alive by her children’s taxi driver and family friend, Lenora Bishop, 50. Bishop said Guerrero, who taught at a nearby preschool on Mary Street, dropped off her children—Felicia, Johnathon and Joshua—who are all in primary school, before she went about her daily business.
Her killing came less than 24 hours after the killing of Stacy Roopan, 25, who was shot three times in the head outside her son’s preschool in Couva on Monday afternoon. Duke-Guerrero was the third person to be murdered in central Trinidad in four days. Wayne Harewood, 30, was killed outside club Deja Vu on Saturday.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian outside the Forensic Science Centre, St James, yesterday, Duke Guerrero’s aunt, Lydia Francis, said her niece was a jovial woman who loved her belly. She said she was the type who would bake bread and sweetbread at Christmas time and give them away to those less fortunate in the area. She added that the family was totally shocked by the killing.
In an unrelated matter, the decomposing body that was found in a forested area at Balata Trace, off Tumpuna Road, Arena, on Monday, was identified yesterday by three of his tattoos. His name cannot be revealed, however, as the people who came forward had no official documentation to prove his identity. Two women identified the body by the tattoos of the man’s mother and daughter’s names and a fish tattoo on his chest.
Alexandrov said the body was X-rayed and there were no signs of bullet fragments. The autopsy was inconclusive but he said a further autopsy on Monday should reveal the cause of death. Alexandrov said the matter would be treated as a murder until otherwise proven as the body was found wrapped in a bedsheet six feet off the road.