By Michael Jordan
I dialed Sheema Mangar’s phone number two years ago.
Of course I didn’t expect to get an answer. After all, Manger had been dead for five years. And the person who had killed her had snatched her Blackberry before dragging her to her death.
But guess what? Someone answered. The individual was a young man; at least he sounded young. I think I said ‘wrong number’ or some such mundane thing, before hanging up.
I suspect that there’s no real mystery to what happened. The company to which the phone was registered may have just transferred the dead bank clerk’s number to another user.
But you must admit that what happened was pretty damn strange; a strange happening in an already strange case.
There are so many unanswered questions that linger, including these three:
Who killed Sheema Mangar? Was the killer just a petty thief who was after a cell phone? Is he dead as some policemen suspect?
Most of you already know the whole sad story, from what happened that night, to how they say the investigation was botched. In case you don’t, here’s what happened.
Around 6:30 p.m. on Friday, September 9, 2010, 21-year-old Demerara Bank employee Sheema Manger, left her workplace and headed for Camp Street and North Road. It was at this spot that she would catch a bus that would take her to her parent’s home at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara.
It was while she was waiting with other commuters and some of her colleagues, that a man walked up to her and snatched her Blackberry phone.
One woman who was nearby recalled seeing a dark-complexioned man in a red sweater run past her from Norton Street into Camp Street.
She then saw a young woman, later identified as Mangar, screaming and running behind the man.
According to the eyewitness, the man entered a grey or ‘fawn-coloured’ car that was parked a short distance from the Methodist Church in Camp Street.
Mangar then stood in front of the car while shouting: “Give me back my phone.”
Instead, the occupants of the vehicle drove forward, crushing the woman under the wheels. They then dragged Mangar over North Road.
Leaving the injured woman on the roadway, the occupants of the car sped east up Church Street.
The eyewitness said that she never saw the licence number.
Mangar was taken to the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, where she succumbed a few hours later.
By this time, police officials had turned the case over to their homicide ranks, since they were treating the matter as a murder.
On Monday, September 12, detectives picked up a 31-year-old man from Kingston. The man, who had previous brushes with the law, drove a silver-grey car. The vehicle’s bumper and bonnet were slightly damaged.
According to police sources, they had picked the man up because informants had suggested that he might be the driver of the car that killed Mangar.
The crime scene experts found a single strand of hair on the vehicle, and they believed that the hair might be Mangar’s.
Four days later, police revealed that they had unearthed no further evidence and had released the suspect on station bail.
He was still a person of interest and was ordered to lodge his passport with the police.
Detectives also impounded another vehicle. Under this one, they retrieved what appeared to be a piece of green fabric, similar to the skirt that Mangar was wearing when she was run over.
The impounded cars were both Toyotas but different models- one an AT 192 and the other an AT 212.
But police suffered a setback when they learned that the medical staff who were treating Mangar had disposed of her bloody clothing when she arrived at the hospital.
Detectives were left to take samples from another uniform that Mangar owned.
Samples from that uniform, and from the fabric found under one of the vehicles, as well as what appeared to be a spot of blood, were sent to a Barbados laboratory.
But none matched Mangar’s DNA or her clothing. A police official said that the hair sample was not sent because it had no root to enable a DNA sample to be taken.
And because no police ranks had accompanied Mangar to hospital, detectives had lost out on the possibility of getting a dying declaration that may have helped identify her killer.
But who was Mangar’s killer? Was his motive merely robbery? To find out, I returned to the scene of the crime around the same time I put through that call to the dead bank clerk’s number.
I was hoping that I would meet someone who had been there on the very night, and who could offer a fresh perspective on what had happened.
I was lucky.
The person I met recalled seeing a man running to a vehicle, which was parked some distance from the Methodist Church in Camp Street. The eyewitness recalled seeing Mangar standing in front of the car and shouting: “Give me back my phone,” before the vehicle struck her down and dragged her over North Road.
The eyewitness did not recall Mangar ever shouting ‘thief.’ That individual felt that Mangar knew the individual who had snatched her phone.
That eyewitness is convinced that the killer was waiting for Sheema Mangar, and that Mangar knew him.
Mangar’s mother, Radica Thakoor, also seems to doubt that her daughter’s attacker was merely after her phone.
“I don’t think so,” she told me. “She (Sheema) was a quiet person, she know better than that,” she added, referring to the notion that her daughter would pursue a thief just to retrieve a phone.
She said that Sheema had lost two other expensive phones and had not reacted in this manner.
“The first was left in a bus; the second one, somebody picked her bag, and she just let it go. The first was a Razr, the second was a Samsung.”
But then Mrs. Thakoor also says it is possible that her daughter reacted the way she had because she never expected such a violent response.
“She must not have expected somebody to do her anything, because of how me grow she. Many days me sit down and try to figure out what really happen.”
Meanwhile, detectives close to the case remain convinced that this was just a case of an innocent victim confronting a violent thief.
One source said that after having two cell phones stolen from her, Sheema Mangar was determined not to be a victim a third time.
The source also revealed that one of the men that they had detained, and whose car they had examined, met a violent end less than two years after Mangar’s murder.
It was in 2012 that this suspect and another man were cornered in a Georgetown alley, after attempting to rob a business couple.
The suspect in Mangar’s murder was shot dead.
Mrs. Thakoor is convinced that the police can close this case and end her eight years of torment.
“If they have a heart, I believe they will solve this matter.
“If they lose their child, they will feel how I feel. They are not just police officers, they are fathers. They go home to a family too. I feel it’s not just the samples only, if they truly want to solve this they can.”
If you have any information about this unusual case or any other, please contact us at our Lot 24 Saffon Street, Charlestown office, or by telephone.
We can be reached on telephone numbers 22-58473, 22-58458, 22-58465, or 22-58491. You need not disclose your identity.
You can also contact Michael Jordan at his email address [email protected]
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