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‘Your son sleeping and he can’t wake up’
Come and pick up your son. He is sleeping and he can’t wake up.
This was the message given to the father of 28-year-old Uber driver Christopher Mohammed hours before his body was found by police after an apparent carjacking on Thursday.
Speaking with reporters at the Forensic Science Centre in St James yesterday, Mohammed’s father Kayam said he received the sinister cryptic response from a woman who answered his son’s phone after he went missing for several hours. Kayam explained that the last time he saw his son alive was when he left their Arima home that morning to go to work.
Mohammed, a deckhand and chef with an offshore drilling company, worked part-time as an Uber driver.
Kayam said he and his wife became worried after their son failed to call or return home at his regular time. After several failed attempts to call him, the strange woman, who only identified herself as Anne, answered.
“She said to come and get your son and that he sleeping and can’t wake up,” his emotional father said.
“I tell her madam, just give me directions to come and pick up my son. She said when you reach St James call me and I would give you the directions,” he added.
He said he followed the instructions and the woman gave him directions to a location at Bournes Road in St James. While on the way, he stopped when he saw a large group of people surrounding an empty lot along Mucurapo Road. He had no idea that police had just found his son’s body.
An autopsy performed at the centre showed Christopher died from several gunshot wounds. His car was found abandoned in Blue Basin, Diego Martin, yesterday morning and was impounded by investigators for forensic analysis.
In addition to attempting to trace the caller through the phone’s GPS system, homicide detectives also contacted the United States (US) transport network company Uber Technologies Inc for information which could be used to piece together the incident.
Police sources said the company may be able to provide information on Mohammed’s last trip and the customer who utilised the service, in order to determine if he was lured to his death using the popular application or if it was a random carjacking.
In a press release issued yesterday afternoon, the San Francisco-based company said it had already established contact with investigators.
“We are proactively communicating with the authorities to provide them with any information they need,” Uber spokesperson Julie Robinson said.
“At Uber, we are heartbroken by the tragic loss of Uber driver, Christopher Mohammed. We offer our deepest condolences and prayers to his family during this difficult time.”
Mohammed’s father said his son had worked intermittently with the company since it launched in T&T last January. Mohammed stopped for a while and only resumed after he purchased the vehicle last month.
He said Mohammed had not gotten around to installing a GPS security system in the car.
He said his son was an avid footballer and would try to play every afternoon after work.
“After work, he would just come home and go and play football with his cousin and two friends. He used to play football every evening since he was in Hillview College,” he said.
Mohammed is the second past pupil of the school to be the victim of a violent crime this week. On Monday, Scotiabank employee Rostan Mahabir was shot during a robbery in front of his workplace in San Fernando. He survived but remains warded in a stable condition. (See Page A5)
Past students took to an alumni Facebook page yesterday to express shock over the incident and send condolences to his family.
“So brothers. We need to do something to raise awareness, get people into self-defence etc. Any ideas welcomed. It’s about time we look out for one another. RIP Christopher Mohammed,” one user posted.
Detectives of the Region One Homicide Bureau are continuing investigations.
Established in California in 2009, Uber now operates in 633 cities worldwide. The technology platform connects drivers, who are independent contractors, with riders.
After a rider makes a request, they have to wait for it to be accepted by a nearby driver. It gives you an estimate of the time the driver would take to reach your location as well as alerts the user as they are about to arrive.
It also provides a user with information on the driver including name, vehicle type, license plate number, with photographs of the driver and their vehicle.
The service is completed after the rider exits the vehicle at their final destination.
It is a cashless system, with the fare being automatically calculated and charged to the payment method linked to their Uber
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