Police on the East Coast of Demerara have their work cut out trying to determine who killed 31-year-old truck driver, Jadesh Dass called ‘Baby-o’, of Chelsea Park, Mahaica, whose body was discovered with its skull bashed in, early yesterday morning.
Dass’ body was found around 02:00hrs by his relatives and colleagues, a few feet from where he had parked the truck he was driving on the Unity, Mahaica New Road.
From all appearances, Dass, who was on his way to the sandpits, was forced to stop his truck on the dark and lonely thoroughfare by his killers, who then bludgeoned him before dumping his body on the nearby parapet close to the trench that runs parallel to the road.
Such was the brutality of the attack on Dass that pieces of his skull were left at the spot where his body was lying.
Investigators have almost ruled out robbery as a motive since the cash that Dass was carrying was still intact. They however detained one of Dass’ neighbours for questioning, after reports surfaced that the truck driver was involved in a relationship with his wife.
“Is all kinda things we hearing,” said a relative, who confirmed that the police had detained the man who had previously employed Dass.
The owner of the truck that Dass was driving, Nandkumar Gopaul, was also detained for questioning.
Gopaul, before his arrest, had told this newspaper at the scene of the murder that Dass, who had been working for him since the beginning of the year, picked up the vehicle around 01:00h, as per normal.
He was normally the first of Gopaul’s drivers to leave for the sandpits of the Linden/Soesdyke Highway.
The truck owner said that Dass informed his other colleagues that he was going ahead of them and they said that they would follow in another truck.
According to Gopaul, the other truck driver, while travelling along the Mahaica New Road, several minutes after Dass had left, noticed the now dead man’s truck parked in a dark section of the road, with the hazard lights on.
At first, the other driver thought that Dass had been tending to a call of nature in the nearby bushes and he stopped to ensure that that was the case. However, after calling out for Dass and getting no answer, he became suspicious and decided to check the area around the truck.
His suspicions were further aroused when he noticed Dass’ cellular phone on the road, but there was still no sign of him.
“When he (other driver) pick up de cell phone he say ‘dis nah look right’ and he jump in back he truck and he turn back and he call me. Me next driver de coming down so I tell dem go at de scene and wait deh, me ah come. When me come, me check and me see he,” the truck owner related. The dead man’s relatives had also been alerted, and they arrived with his colleagues.
The truck owner immediately informed the police at the Mahaica Police Station.
Gopaul said that he found it strange that Dass would stop at such a lonely spot – an observation also made by some of his colleagues.
“Got to be like somebody drive up in front ah he. Because if me ah drive a vehicle pon a long road like dis and time like dat, me nah guh stop normal and pick up somebody. De truck hazard been on, so it got to be something mek he put on de hazard,” Gopaul reasoned.
“Dat man nah guh stop so. Even if he puncture and deh pon de road, he would pass and call somebody, he nah guh stop,” another driver said.
This is also the view of a relative who told this newspaper that Dass must have known his killer for him to stop his truck where he did.
“Is a very lonely area, with no light. Dey did not attack him in the truck. He come out and like he put up a fight,” the relative said.
“His phone was there on the road, his wallet was still in his pocket and he had $20,000 in the truck,” the relative added.
Relatives and friends of the dead man believe that he was attacked by more than one person.
The victim’s mother, Sookranie Dass, told this newspaper that her son left home around 12:55hrs, riding his bicycle to pick up the truck.
An hour later she was awakened by persons calling at her gate.
The callers were Dass’s truck-driving colleagues who informed his relatives that they were not finding him where his truck was parked.
The woman said that she and other family members went to the scene where Dass’ body was subsequently found.
“When we go, we call and search, search and den we find he,” Sookranie Dass recalled.
For the elderly woman, her son’s death is another crushing blow, as she has had to bury her husband and daughter-in-law within the past three years.
Dass’ wife, she said, passed away two years ago.
Apart from the two men in custody, detectives are questioning a few other employees of the trucking service as they try to determine the facts surrounding the brutal slaying.
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