May 03, 2021 News
By Shervin Belgrave
Kaieteur News – Though 28 years have passed without investigators being able to solve the brutal murder of 19-year-old security guard, Monica Reece, Guyana’s current Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum is positive that her killer’s freedom will soon come to an abrupt end.
In fact, Blanhum told Kaieteur News recently that there was a possibility that her case could have been solved years ago. The Crime Chief said, “We had a real prospect of solving Monica Reece’s case but it was hindered due to a shake-up in the Guyana Police Force (GPF).”
Monica Reece’s case was re-opened for investigation in July 2016. The following year, Blanhum who was at the time spearheading the investigation as Crime Chief was removed from his post. Blanhum disclosed that several detectives who were working along with him on cracking the case were removed too. The case file was subsequently handed over to new investigators who did some amount of work. But even before they could make any serious headway with the case, the ranks within the Police Force were reshuffled to different positions. This resulted in Blanhum being brought back as Crime Chief.
Now that he is back in the driver’s seat on the case, Blanhum assured that the mystery surrounding Reece’s murder will soon be solved.
Kaieteur News would have reported on several occasions that Reece was murdered sometime after 20:30hrs on Good Friday, April 9, 1993. Her body was reportedly thrown out around 22:05hrs that day from a dark-coloured 4×4 pick-up on Main Street, in the vicinity of the well known Courts main branch.
An autopsy conducted on her remains had revealed that she was beaten to death.
Detectives working on the case back then had arrested three suspects but all had been released after they provided police with a plausible alibi.
One of them was a 27-year-old man from a prominent family in Guyana. His father owned a 4×4 pick-up similar to the one from which Reece’s body was thrown from. The licence number of his father’s pick-up was 9132, a number that was similar to the one on the vehicle observed by an eyewitness.
However, he told detectives that he had used the vehicle that night but had returned home around 19:00hrs accompanied by his girlfriend. The suspect further alleged that he did not return on the road that evening until shortly after 22:00hrs. His friends had reportedly told him that a woman’s body was thrown from a vehicle with a licence number similar to his. The man claimed that in the company of a friend, he rode his motorcycle to scene of the crime and returned home. When asked if he knew the victim, he reportedly said no.
The second suspect cops had arrested; was another 27-year-old whose father was a high-ranking Government Official. He owned a 4×4 pick-up but had denied using the vehicle that night as it was out of gas. Like the suspect before him, he denied knowing the victim and claimed that he had used a borrowed motorcycle to visit a friend that night. He alleged that he left the friend’s home around 22:45hrs and was riding around town when he noticed a crowd on Main Street and was informed that a woman’s body was just thrown out of a pick-up.
Police arrested the final suspect on April 15, 1993 and identified him as the son of a prominent businessman. The suspect’s family owned a 4×4 pick-up and police had impounded that vehicle as well. The man claimed however that he was at the home of an attorney in Georgetown between 19:00 and 22:00hrs, on the night of Reece’s murder. The businessman’s son alleged too that he later visited his girlfriend in Kitty around 22:30hrs before going home. This individual also denied knowing Reece and told the detectives that he only learnt about the woman after reading her story in the newspaper.
After his release, the Monica Reece case went cold but not without multiple speculations.
It was rumoured that she was murdered because of her knowledge of a drug bust. Others speculated that investigators knew who her killer was but decided to cover it up.
Despite all the assumption, there are some things that are quite clear about Reece’s death. One is that her murderer hails from a wealthy background and had access to a pick-up which were few back then. Another is that he is still out there walking around and probably believes that he will never be caught. But who might he be?
The closest Kaieteur News came to unmasking a possible killer was through a chance meeting between veteran crime journalist, Michael Jordan and former Commissioner of Police, Laurie Lewis.
Jordon had detailed in his weekly Murder and Mystery Column published on April 16, 2017, that they met some time ago on the West Ruimveldt Back Road.
In the column Jordon wrote:
“Anything new on Monica Reece?” I asked. The official sucked his teeth and said: “I wish we could just forget she and bury she. When you live by the sword, you die by the sword.”
“But it’s a human being,” I replied.
“Yes,” he agreed. “And y’all want we fuh clean up the mess she lef behind. One of these days, I gon tell you something about Monica Reece that gon shock you.”
And he proceeded to tell me his theory about what had happened that Good Friday night.
His belief is that the Reece case is no murder. He believes Reece was having an affair with a married man, or a man who had another woman. He thinks that Reece was pestering this individual and during an argument, she accidentally fell out of his pickup and succumbed to her injuries. He would tell me nothing about the man’s identity.”
The former Commissioner of Police’s theory that she fell out of the pick-up and succumbed to the injuries was quickly debunked as the autopsy showed that she died long before her body discarded on the streets.
But could it be that Lewis knew something at the time or perhaps, might have had an idea of who the killer was? Only time will tell when Blanhum’s promise of solving the case is fulfilled.
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