A 19-year-old seaman went berserk shortly after midnight yesterday, bludgeoning a 45-year-old crew member and slashing the man’s throat before dumping the body into the Demerara River.
Khemraj Dass, called ‘Lakeram’ or ‘Lako’, of Bella Dam, Klein Pouderoyen, West Bank Demerara, was reportedly slain by the boat captain’s son during a brief confrontation between the two while the 30-foot vessel was moored at the Didco wharf at Friendship, East Bank Demerara.
Police have detained the alleged killer who sources said readily admitted to killing Dass, although the motive for the heinous crime is still unclear. The suspect is the son of the boat’s captain and resides at a community off the Soesdyke/Linden highway.
However, up to late yesterday evening police had still not located Dass’ remains, despite scouring the Demerara River.
Police said that large pools of blood on the vessel indicated that the seaman had indeed been brutally slain.
The vessel, which was hauling a barge that was destined to carry lumber to a timber grant at Yaruni, Demerara River, is owned by Ganesh Cheddie, who operates a sawmill at Pouderoyen.
Kaieteur News was told that the captain had gone to rest at around 23:00 hrs on Saturday, leaving his son and Dass awake. He awoke shortly after midnight and asked his son to get a sheet for him.
However, when his son stood and stared back without responding, the captain enquired about Dass’ whereabouts.
According to a source, the youth replied: “What you asking me about ‘Lako?’ I give he two lash, cut he throat and shove he overboard.”
Apparently not believing his son, the captain then went to one of the security guards at the Didco wharf and enquired whether Dass had left the compound. After being informed that the man had not seen Dass, the captain returned to the vessel, where his son reportedly again stated that he had killed ‘Lako’ and dumped him and knife he had used overboard.
The captain then contacted the police who took the suspect into custody.
Dass’ relatives, who also reside at Pouderoyen, were unaware of his death until Kaieteur News visited them at around 10:00 hrs yesterday.
A female family friend said that she had realised that something was amiss when a man, who was reportedly sent by the owner of the vessel, visited her home yesterday morning. She said that the man merely told her to go to the Grove Police Station.
At the time, the friend had assumed that Dass was in the lockups and was preparing to take a meal for him when she received news of his demise.
The woman told Kaieteur News that the owner of the vessel had picked up Dass at around 05:00 hrs yesterday to go on the vessel. The seaman was expected back later the same day.
Dass’ relatives expressed anger that the boat owner had not informed them of the seaman’s demise. Dass had reportedly gone on four previous trips on the vessel.
Ganesh Cheddie, who owns the vessel, told Kaieteur News that he had known Dass, whom he described as “well mannered and quiet,” for about three months.
Mr. Cheddie added that he had known the boat captain for about 25 years. However, this was the first time that the captain’s son had worked for him.
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