Lenus La Cruz, the father who torched his Port Kaituma house with his wife and four children inside, has succumbed to injuries he sustained while committing the crime.
The 50-year-old businessman, who suffered burns to his hands, legs and back, died at around 03:20 hrs yesterday at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation’s Burns Care Unit. Kaieteur News understands that his condition had worsened on Thursday.
It is unclear why the badly burned suspect was initially kept for some four days in the Port Kaituma Hospital, which lack the facilities to treat patients with such injures.
During the days spent at the GPHC, La Cruz, who was under police guard, refused to speak to persons including the nurses who were taking care of him.
A hospital source had told this publication “he is behaving as if he has mental issues. When the nurses talk to him, he just shakes his head or murmur but when his relatives are around him, he interacts with them, but again, he says nothing about the incident.”
La Cruz would have faced five counts of murder, and police had indicated that he would have appeared in court as soon as his condition improved.
It is alleged that he doused his heavily-grilled home at Port Kaituma with petrol on the night of March 14, last, before setting it alight with his wife, Lurlene La Cruz, 39, their daughters, Lea and Lavette La Cruz; sons Labron La Cruz, eight, and one-year-old Leven La Cruz trapped inside.
From reports received by Kaieteur News, the tragedy started when the 50-year old businessman, who was under the influence of alcohol, began to scream and curse while claiming that persons owed him money.
It is alleged that La Cruz went out of the building and switched his generator on and off. He then returned inside and began to bang on the bedroom door and demand that his wife open it.
When she refused, he allegedly shouted, “I going for the gas”.
He reportedly began pouring fuel through a bedroom window.
A relative had told Kaieteur News that Mrs. La Cruz told her 12-year-old daughter to go to the Port Kaituma Police Station and the child then fled from the building.
However, her report was treated with no urgency by the rank on duty.
The child returned home but by then the building was on fire. She reportedly then alerted other residents who tried in vain to douse the flames and free the victims from the heavily-grilled building.
The victims were laid to rest at Port Kaituma.
Some Port Kaituma residents had described Mr. La Cruz as a caring father, while a relative of his wife had alleged that he had subjected his spouse to physical abuse.
The 12-year-old survivor, who is being taken care of by Child Protection officials, had visited her injured father at the Port Kaituma Hospital, and had indicated that she had forgiven him.
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