Aug 27, 2016 News
By Romila Boodram
In a shocking disclosure yesterday, Acting Commissioner of Police David Ramnarine revealed that “an unprofessional course of action” took place during the initial probe into the April 1993 Good Friday night killing of security guard Monica Reece.
Ramnarine made the revelation during a press conference, after he was asked about the status of the case, which the Force re-opened just over a month ago.
“It is very clear to me that an unprofessional course of action took place at the time when the investigation was ongoing,” Ramnarine said.
“The first review (of the case) revealed that an unprofessional course of action was taken in that year, and that period, when that matter was under investigation.”
But the acting Top Cop repeatedly refused to be drawn into identifying who was responsible for this “unprofessional” action, while saying that the case is still under review.
This is the first time that a senior member of the Force has publicly admitted that there were problems with the initial investigation into one of the country’s most sensational killings.
Over the years some leading investigators, who declined to be quoted, have said they were dissatisfied with the manner in which the case was handled. Some even expressed the view that they were deliberately hampered.
As recently as last July, one senior investigator told Kaieteur News that “a number of things obstructed us.”
“It was never intended for it to be a straightforward investigation. Where the obstruction came from, I don’t know, but there are some who knew where the obstruction came from,” the source had said.
Other investigators said that a prime suspect was taken into custody but was never fully interrogated. A pickup that this suspect allegedly drove on the night of Reece’s murder was impounded, but was reportedly released without being checked for possible forensic evidence.
Commissioner of Police Laurie Lewis was at the helm of the Force when Reece was slain.
The case was labeled by some as a “high society killing” because all of the suspects were from affluent families.
At the time, Commissioner Lewis had vowed: “We will solve this crime.” It remains unsolved under Lewis and five other commissioners of police.
But some investigators who worked on the case back then are confident that Reece’s killer can still be brought to justice.
In a recent interview, former Crime Chief Alvin Smith expressed confidence that the case will be solved.
“I honestly believe that something will break. Somehow I believe that it will happen. My grounded belief is that the evidence is there. The evidence is alive. It comes to my mind often, after all these years. I think that the person (killer) is alive and that the evidence is there,” Smith said.
On the Good Friday night of April 9, 1993, 19-year-old Loss Prevention Guard Service employee Monica Reece was murdered and dumped from a pickup in the vicinity of the Geddes Grant building (now Courts) on Main Street, Georgetown.
A post mortem revealed that she was badly beaten and had suffered a broken jaw.
Police questioned several individuals and impounded several vehicles that fit the description of the pickup from which Reece’s body was dumped. Reece’s body was even exhumed, but police were unable to gather any forensic evidence to implicate anyone.
A timeline of Reece’s movements that day revealed that at around 13:00 hrs, David McKenzie, Operations Manager of the Loss Prevention Guard Service, visited Reece at the Ministry of Health in Brickdam, where she was detailed to work.
According to McKenzie, Reece told him that if a man by the name of ‘Mark’ called for her at the office, he must tell ‘Mark’ to take lunch to her worksite.
Reece also told McKenzie about her relationship with a man who drove a 4×4 pickup, who she claimed was in love with her.
Reece also handed McKenzie a piece of paper with several names and a telephone number. The security official recalled the name ‘Mark’ on the paper, but he could not recall the telephone number or what he had done with the paper Reece had given him.
McKenzie later dropped Reece on his bicycle to a phone booth at Regent and Hinck Streets. That was the last time he saw her alive.
Between 16:40 hrs and 17:00 hrs, Reece informed Mark Torrington, a security guard, that she had a date with “a Chinese man” from Mc Doom, East Bank Demerara. She told him not to be surprised if he heard she was dead.
At 18:30 hrs, she left Kalian Yard at Lot 240 Camp Street. She changed out of her security uniform and was wearing a white T-shirt and black tights.
At 19:15 hrs, she was seen by Special Constable Linden Samuels entering the Brickdam Police Station compound. She was allegedly crying and about five minutes later she was seen entering a black Pathfinder parked near the station.
At around 20:30 hrs, she visited Charles Mc Allister, a driver, at a Church Street disco. She reportedly left, returned and then walked west along Church Street.
Then about 22:05 hrs, a woman saw Reece’s body falling out of a pickup in Main Street.
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