Oct 13, 2010 News
– “We don’t want this case to fall apart”
Relatives of slain Queen’s College student Neesa Lalita Gopaul are pleading with the police to have DNA tests conducted on her remains to ensure that she is positively identified. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. Nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA.
Two of Neesa’s sisters, who came in from overseas for her funeral, expressed concern that the case could go in favour of the two accused if the state fails to prove beyond a doubt that the remains are Neesa’s.
“We don’t want this case to fall apart. I feel that enough is not being done at the moment,” one of the sisters told Kaieteur News yesterday.
She also pointed out that such forensic evidence could also be used to link the suspects to the crime, if Neesa’s DNA is found in the vehicles that the investigators impounded.
According to the siblings, they have been receiving mixed messages from police officials as to whether such tests are being conducted.
“They told me that they have to do the tests, but I don’t know…saying something and doing it seem to be two different things here,” another sister told Kaieteur News.
But she alleged that another police official told the family that the DNA tests were unnecessary.
“He said that there was no need for DNA, since they have enough evidence to positively identify the body as Neesa’s.”
Neesa’s grandfather, Mohamed Kayum, had identified the almost headless remains by the clothing and by the toes.
While DNA evidence is now admissible in Guyana courts of law, police have been reluctant to utilise it because such tests are costly and can only be done overseas.
Police officials who spoke with Kaieteur News could not say whether the tests will be conducted.
While the relatives said that they would have “no problem” in footing the bill for the DNA tests, they expressed the view that it was the state’s duty to do so.
The disfigured body of 16-yer-old Neesa Gopaul was found in a suitcase near the Emerald Tower Resort at Madewini, off the Soesdyke/Linden Highway.
The black suitcase was dumped into the Madewini Creek. A length of rope was wrapped around the body and two dumb-bells, weighing more 80 pounds, were attached to the other end of the rope in an effort to weigh the body down. The victim was wearing a pair of black shorts and a multi-coloured top.
A passport and a bank card were found with the remains.
The teen’s mother, Bibi Sherima Gopaul, and the woman’s lover, gym instructor Jarvis Small, were detained a day after the discovery was made. They have since been charged with her murder.
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