Body on Mabaruma playfield…Venezuela-based businessman was strangled
- residents fear suspect hiding in community
The Venezuela-based Guyanese who was found dead on a Mabaruma Settlement playfield last Sunday is E&F Division’s fifth murder victim for the year.
Kaieteur News was told that a postmortem performed yesterday by Government Pathologist Dr. Nehaul Singh revealed that the victim, Jose Ramong Valenzuela, was manually strangled. Sources from Mabaruma had initially given the victim’s name as Jose Ramalho.
A source close to the victim’s family said that they were told that the 47-year-old man was struck on the head before he was slain.
An acquaintance of the slain man said that relatives took his remains back to Venezuela yesterday.
Because the body bore no visible marks, police had initially suspected that Valenzuela had died of natural causes.
Residents from the area had confirmed that he had been drinking heavily prior to his death. Police had questioned an individual with whom the Venezuela-based Guyanese was last seen drinking, but had not detained him.
An official has refuted reports that the man, known as ‘Fire’ had escaped from custody after being held for questioning.
According to reports out of Mabaruma, Valenzuela, who came to Guyana some three weeks ago, was drinking with the suspect and others at Kumaka last Saturday night. The victim, accompanied by the suspect, then went to Mabaruma Settlement.
A resident, who knew Valenzuela, said that the two men turned up at his home on the same night. The resident recalled that Valenzuela was intoxicated, while his companion appeared to be sober.
After seeing the intoxicated Valenzuela with the individual, the friend said he became concerned about the businessman’s safety and tried to persuade him to stay for the night.
“I sling a hammock for the guy and the next guy (the suspect) trying to persuade the next guy (Valenzuela) not to stay.” Eventually, the victim and suspect left together.
“We suspected that something would have happened, but we suspected that he would have robbed the man, but we didn’t suspect death.”
The following day, a passerby spotted Valenzuela’s body on the Mabaruma Settlement playfield. His wallet was missing, but some of the victim’s documents were strewn near the body.
According to the resident, the suspect, who was still in the area, initially denied knowing the victim, until another resident pointed out that he and the victim were drinking together.
The suspect has not been seen since, but some residents are convinced that he is hiding out in the area, which is surrounded by dense forest.
“We are convinced that we have a murderer at large in our community, and we are very concerned about the issue. We have soldiers and military barracks up here; we want to feel that more should be done to apprehend this guy,” one resident told this newspaper.