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Relatives found in burning van
Police are exploring several theories in the murders of two men whose bodies were found in a burning pickup van in a forested area in Rio Claro yesterday. The men are believed to be Schaffie Roberts, 33, of Guayaguayare Road, Rio Claro, and his uncle, Patrick Nelson, 60, a gardener, who lived in a house in the forest. Their bodies were badly burnt when police found them yesterday. Around 11.20 am yesterday, Nelson’s nephew, Dale Ifill, called the police after he saw a Datsun pickup on fire at Lazarie Trace, Old Guyaguayare Road.
He saw one body in the van but when the police arrived it was still burning and they saw two bodies inside. The van was found three miles from where Nelson lived. Police confirmed that Roberts was one of the victims, adding they believed Nelson was the other victim because on Monday around 4 pm he had asked Ifill to check on his dog because he was in Rio Claro with Roberts. The police also found two bags of dog food in the van.
Police are not sure how the men were killed but suspect they were shot in the van, which was then set on fire. Roberts was charged with murder in 2003 but was found guilty of the lesser count of manslaughter in 2009. He later appealed the case and won. Police said Roberts had a pending shooting with intent charge which was expected to come up in court later this month. The victim in that matter, Zita Wilson, was murdered in October 2003, three weeks after her son, Sherwin, was also gunned down.
Her death was the tenth in what police believed was a series of reprisal killings linked to the Wilson and Garcia families over the past few years. Police are investigating whether the murders of Roberts and Nelson were also the result of that feud. They are also exploring a possible drug link. Visiting the scene were officers from the Mayaro and Rio Claro stations and the Eastern Task Force, including Insp Fitzgerald George and Sgt Doodhai. The murder toll stood at 64 up to last evening.
(With reporting by Alana Boodoo-Suraj)