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In September, the Caribbean...
Renee T’Anna Lazarus spent her last moments with her older brother discussing how she could better her life through education. Her last minutes on earth, however, were spent struggling with her killer or killers, who tied her up, stripped her and strangled her with her own clothing. Lazarus, 17, who was nicknamed Rihanna because she was a fan of the Barbadian pop singer, was found half-naked in an abandoned lot at Cameron Hill, Petit Valley, around 7 am on Monday.
Speaking with the media outside the Forensic Science Centre, St James, yesterday, after identifying her for authorities, relatives described her as a happy person who was very artistic. Lazarus was last seen by her brother, Nathaniel Brathwaite Jr, last Friday as they were returning to their Salandy Street, Diego Martin, home around 7 pm from shopping in Port-of-Spain. Brathwaite said the two spoke about Lazarus signing up to do evening classes to sit the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams.
They were in a silver Lancer which was working PH (private for hire). Brathwaite, however, got out at Factory Road, Diego Martin, and told his sister to go straight home. It was the last he heard and saw her. At the Forensic Science Centre yesterday, Brathwaite was heard blaming himself for his sister’s death, while their mother, Alicia Lazarus, called for justice for her child. Brathwaite said his sister was a happy child who loved making those around her laugh.
Lazarus said her daughter wanted more than anything in the world to help others. This passion, she said, made her daughter decide she wanted either to be a doctor or a nurse. She said her daughter was a quick learner and did not deserve to die in the horrific manner she did and called for justice. In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of crime, Glen Hackett, expressed condolences to the family.
He also warned the public and women in particular to be careful of the vehicles in which they travelled. “I would advise the travelling public to be wary of using PH taxis in seeking to obtain transport. Sometimes it is the only mode of transport that is available but I urge you do not substitute your life for convenience. Be very careful,” Hackett said. With Carnival around the corner, he said, the travelling public often took chances. Lazarus is the second teenage girl to be killed this year.
On January 21, Aleah Cain, 15, was shot dead on her way to her Belmont home around 11 pm. She went to a parlour on Belmont Circular Road with her boyfriend, 20-year-old Odelle Charles, when the two were shot at. Cain was the mother of a six-week-old baby girl. With two other killings that took place yesterday, the murder toll rose to 81 for the year, three more than it was for the corresponding period last year. The latest murder victims were 48-year-old Paul Williams and 40-year-old Kerwin Fevecque.
Around 8.50 pm on Monday, residents of Upper Thomasine Street, Laventille, heard gunshots and called the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF). IATF officers responded and found Williams lying at the side of the road covered in blood. He was taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he died undergoing treatment.
A few minutes later, officers from the Besson Street Police Station were called to Spring Drive Block 22, Laventille, where Fevecque was killed. He was found lying in a pool of blood near his home and had been shot several times. Fevecque was a compressor operator at the Port-of-Spain City Corporation.