‘Totes’ funeral postponed after inconclusive PME

A post-mortem examination (PME) performed on the badly decomposed remains of a body found at Cotton Tree, West Coast Berbice Saturday proved to be inconclusive and relatives of a 33-year-old Bath Settlement man, who had identified it as him by the clothing, were able to get possession for burial.

The headless body believed to be that of Seeram ‘Totes’ Totaram was found by a youth around 9:30 am on Tuesday in a fishing seine on the Cotton Tree foreshore. He had been missing since December 21 last and relatives had launched a massive search for him since then.

Reports are that the youth had gone to the area to pick bora from his farm and had set the seine. This newspaper learnt that as the young man was pulling in the seine he saw what looked like a cow’s limb.

He continued pulling in his seine and realized that it was a body and immediately summoned the help of a man who assisted in dragging the body onto the dam. The head and left hand were missing but relatives identified the body from the pair of black pants, a black belt and black and white boxer shorts that it was clad in.

Relatives had prepared for the funeral on Saturday, but this newspaper learned that the police refused to hand over the body and the service had to be cancelled.

Contacted, a police source told Stabroek News that because of the severe state of decomposition it was difficult to determine if the body was indeed that of Totaram. He stated that the clothing alone was not enough proof and that they would have to seek legal advice on the issue before handing over the body.

A relative related to this newspaper that they were told that a DNA would have to be performed on the body.

Meanwhile, three persons who had been detained at the Fort Wellington Police Station following the man’s disappearance were rearrested.

The source said there was not enough information for the police to have a breakthrough in the case. He said that the main suspect had recently been imprisoned for raping a mentally challenged woman.

The police are calling on anyone with information to come forward and assist them in solving the case.

Shortly after his disappearance the man’s reputed wife of two years, 16-year-old Latchmie ‘Vanessa’ Khemraj had told Stabroek News that two persons had threatened him on two separate occasions.

She said he had left home at around 7 pm on December 21 to arrange with a friend to work in a rice field the following morning but ended up drinking. After he did not return home she became worried and informed his relatives who assisted in conducting a massive search “everywhere – from the sea-dam to the backdam.”

She had said that he was reportedly last seen drinking at a rum shop in the village on the night of his disappearance. There are reports too that he had been arguing with persons and relatives were worried that he may have been murdered and buried in a shallow grave.

She made a report and the police checked all the hospitals but there was still no trace of Totaram. The woman later learnt from the friend he was drinking with that her husband left the shop at around 8:30 pm and ended up drinking elsewhere.

The man’s brother-in-law, Inshan Ally-Khan had told this newspaper that he learnt that after the man left the shop he went to a resident to borrow money. He then continued drinking at someone’s house and left to go home around 10 pm.

Reports are that while on his way home a few men who were drinking close to the koker started to beat him up. A woman related that she heard someone “hollering” but she did not look out. The following morning, she said she heard that ‘Totes’ was missing.

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