The police have been given a further 72 hours to detain five youths held in connection with the murder of Rafael Campbell, according to Crime Chief Seelall Persaud who said that from all indications the killing may have been sparked by a dispute over the payment of the taxi fare.
Campbell’s bloody and battered body was found at Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara on the morning of January 3. He remained unidentified until Monday. It was only after police detained a motor car with five men along the Linden/Soesdyke Highway that pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place.
Contacted yesterday for an update, Persaud told Stabroek News that sleuths are continuing their investigations into the murder of the Beterverwagting man. Asked if anything is known about the background of those detained, he said that checks are still being made.
Persaud went on to explain that based on some of the information gathered so far, the five men hired Campbell to take them to a location. At the time, the man was using a motor car he had rented. Persaud told Stabroek News that when the men arrived at their destination, they had a dispute with Campbell over the fare that should be paid.
It would appear that it was around this time that Campbell, a father of two was beaten to the point where most of his teeth fell out and his face was left bashed in. He was also stabbed and shot several times in the head. The men left Campbell lying on the roadway and drove off in the black Premio motor car.
Based on Persaud’s explanation, it is unclear if the men were after the motor car or if there was another motive for his death. Persons close to the man, who at the time of his death lived at Simpson Road, Beterverwagting, ECD, expressed the view that the perpetrators were after the car.
Over the years, many taxi drivers have fallen prey to carjackers, some being killed and others wounded. Police had said previously that there is a carjacking ring in operation. Stabroek News has been told that after the cars are stolen the perpetrators would strip them for parts, use them to commit robberies or even sell them.
Sources say that while the evidence in this case points to a carjacking, investigators cannot rule out anything at this point. One source questioned why the men would keep the vehicle in their possession for such a long period of time if their intention was not to rob him. Campbell’s body was found around 1140 hours while the men were detained during a routine police operation that night. The source said that the gravity of Campbell’s injuries also tell a story. “They shoot him in the head, beat him badly plus stab him. That don’t make a whole lot of sense because the thing with these thieves is that they just want to kill and move. They ain’t got time to beat up nobody…they can’t risk being seen”, the source pointed out.
Another source opined that the men were probably heading to an isolated area either to strip the vehicle which was registered in the PPP series for its valuable parts or to plan a robbery. The source said that the highway is an ideal spot for this as it is isolated and the vehicle could be easily concealed in the thick bushes.
Based on what Stabroek News had been told, just over a week before he was found, Campbell had returned from the interior where he worked as a miner. When he comes home he would usually rent a car. Knowing that the holidays would be hectic and would require lots of moving around, he rented a vehicle. One of his friends said that the car Campbell rented this time around was “shine” and that this is what might have captured the youths’ attention.
Campbell is the second taxi driver in recent days to have been murdered and dumped. On December 28 last the lifeless body of Pegasus Hotel taxi driver, Rudranauth Jeeboo was found in a garbage heap at Cane View Avenue, South Ruimveldt with marks of violence to his head. His motor car, a Toyota Allion was later discovered at the back of Guyhoc Gardens. It had been stripped of its licence plate and the Pegasus logo.