Sangeeta Persaud’s body exhumed
By Latoya Giles and Jenelle Carter
Foreign pathologist, Dr. Valery Alexandrov, a specialist in forensic and anatomic pathology, yesterday conducted a second post mortem, this time on the exhumed remains of Sangeeta Persaud, a West Bank Demerara teen.
The Trinidad-based pathologist yesterday collected samples from various parts of Persaud’s body in an effort to put all speculations to rest. There was some confusion about the cause of death. Initially, the view was that the child died of a botched exorcism.
Alexandrov yesterday told Kaieteur News that the body was in a profound stage of decomposition to make any serious preliminary assessment.
He however noted that there was no sign of blunt trauma, hemorrhaging or broken bones in the child’s body.
He explained during his examination that he was checking the muscle tissues for a greenish discoloration which is consistent with poisoning. However, none was found but he noted that he has not completely ruled out poisoning.
“I am trying to see if I can get the original samples which were taken, to conduct further toxicology tests. Because of the state of the body, the two main organs that I need to look at have already gone a little beyond the state of preserving for testing,” the doctor explained.
He added that since it is very common for pesticides to be used for the purpose of poisoning in this region, he is hoping that the local authorities will be able to provide him with the original samples.
“If I get that, it would make my work a little easier, once the samples were properly preserved.
The doctor, who is attached to the American Board of Pathology Certified Forensic and Anatomic Pathologist, Trinidad and Tobago Forensic, said that he had a discussion with Dr. Nehaul Singh.
“From what I was told and when he explained his findings I have reason to believe that the child died as a result of meningitis…What he explained to me is consistent with symptoms of meningitis”.
Present yesterday at the exhumation was chairman of Ethnic Relation Commission, Bishop Juan Edghill.
Bishop Edghill said that he was thankful that relatives agreed to the exhumation. He said that the entire process was done in a professional and civil manner.
He also told Kaieteur News that he hopes that the entire process would help heal the society which had begun to take sides, based on prejudice. He also said that he hopes that the findings can bring closure to the entire community.
Present also was the pastor at the centre of the controversy. He refused to say anything.
In an effort to quell the controversy surrounding her demise, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee announced on Thursday that Persaud’s body would be exhumed.
A police report which was completed on March 31, indicated that the post mortem examination to determine Persaud’s cause of death was inconclusive.
However, following tests carried out on body samples recently, it was confirmed that Persaud died from meningitis.
Sangeeta Persaud of Canal Number Two Polder died at the West Demerara Regional Hospital hours after an alleged attempt to exorcise demons from her failed.
The girl had fallen ill and instead of seeking medical attention, her parents reportedly opted to seek the services of a local pastor, since they were convinced that she was possessed by demons.
According to the Home Affairs Minister, Persaud’s death has developed into an envelope of controversy and mystery for some, attracting national interest.