The search for 39-year-old Merissa Edwards culminated in tragedy on Monday, after her decomposing body was found in a drain in Couva.
The discovery was made by a search party shortly before 6 pm in a grassy area off Brickfield Road. The search party, comprising the Hunters Search and Rescue team led by Vallence Rambharat, an off-duty policeman, her brothers and a family friend, had been searching the Freeport/Waterloo/Couva area.
Police believe Edwards was murdered by her boyfriend, Simeon Roopchand, who then took his own life.
Edwards lived at John Eli Road Extension, Freeport, while Roopchand lived at Bank Village, Carapichaima.
About two hours before her body was found, Edwards’ sister Lisa told Guardian Media they were still clinging on to hope she was alive. In a telephone interview, she said Edwards had planned to end her relationship with her 51-year-old boyfriend.
However, she said she did not think her sister’s life was in danger, as he was not a violent person.
“This is very shocking,” Lisa said.
Edwards, an administrative clerk at the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of the West Indies in St Augustine, had been missing for over a week.
Edwards’ boyfriend, the last person she was seen with, was found hanging from a tree in a forested area off Damien Road in Tabaquite on Saturday.
Lisa said her sister was with Roopchand for about two years but she had broken off the relationship a couple times. While he would accuse her sister of being unfaithful, Lisa said he was not abusive.
“He was a real normal, nice person. I don’t think I ever hear him curse,” she added.
She said he even went with them to Tobago last month.
Edwards was last seen by her relatives on September 18 when she left her home with Roopchand.
The following morning, Edwards’ 16-year-old daughter realised that her mother never came home. Roopchand visited Edwards’ home that day around 6 am.
Lisa said Roopchand usually took Edwards to work and her daughter to school. When relatives inquired about Edwards’ whereabouts, he claimed he dropped her on the highway by a track which leads to her home.
She said Roopchand dropped Edwards’ daughter to school and even went to her workplace to look for her. She said they made several calls to Edwards’ cell phone without success and WhatsApp Messenger showed that Edwards was last online around 1.39 am on Monday (September 19).
However, Lisa explained that when they got access to her sister’s phone’s GPS and began asking Roopchand questions, he changed his story. She said he kept insisting that he did not know her whereabouts.
Roopchand’s last communication with them was via WhatsApp Messenger on Tuesday (September 20) around 9.36 am. She said he texted that they had ruined his life and he was going to end it.
Later that day, his car was found in Tabaquite not far from where his body was found.
Edwards is the sixth of 11 siblings but two of her sisters are deceased. Lisa said her family is hurting. Their 69-year-old mother keeps breaking down. Their father will turn 72 next month.
She thanked the police and everyone who had been searching for Edwards, giving support and extending best wishes to them.