Two found dead in river after boat vanishes

-search on for two others

Two persons, including a 14-year-old boy are dead, while two others remain missing a week after they left in a boat from the Canje Creek for Morgenstond.

The bodies of Rudolph Sheriff, 49, of Smythfield, New Amsterdam and Shaquille Anthony Plass, 14, of Angoy’s Avenue, New Amsterdam, were found floating in the Berbice River in the previous two days. Still missing are the teen’s father, Shondell Anthony Plass, 49, of Angoy’s Avenue and uncle, Bate Bender, 43, of Morgenstond, Berbice River.

Rudolph Sheriff
Rudolph Sheriff

Police said yesterday they were investigating the deaths and the disappearance. Police confirmed that the body of Sheriff, who was also known as “Money Man” and “Grease,” was recovered in the Berbice River in the vicinity of Mara at about 9:50am, while the body of the teenaged  Plass was recovered in the vicinity of Cherry Tree, Berbice River, at about 3pm on Tuesday.

According to the police, the two deceased along with the missing two had left in a boat from the Canje Creek for Morgenstond last Thursday. There has been no trace of the boat or the other two men, for whom the search continues, police added.

According to relatives of the deceased and the missing men, they were journeying up the river to drop Bender off at his home. Bender had an injured foot and he had received treatment from the New Amsterdam Hospital.

Stabroek News was told that they set off on Thursday last at around 4pm in a cream and brown-coloured boat. The family members of the deceased and missing and police stated that they were unaware of what may have occurred during the journey.

However, family members noted that as early as Sunday there were rumours in the communities that bodies were floating in the river.

In addition, police sources said that on Sunday night, they received information about the bodies and they asked the person who made the report to tie up the bodies as they were unable to do anything due to the time that they received the information. The next day, officers were sent out to search.

The source said that after Sheriff’s body was fished out of the river, the police received another call and were told that bodies were still seen floating. When they returned yesterday, there was only one person, who was later identified as Shaquille Plass.

He had been unidentified before yesterday as police did not receive a report that he was missing. He was clad in a brown, long-sleeved jersey, with a yellow t-shirt and navy-blue vest and a pair of blue long pants. He was identified both by his clothes and the way he cut his toenails, his daughter said.

Sonia Bahadur, the dead man’s sister, said that she became aware of the tragedy yesterday morning. She admitted that she heard that there had been an incident but she never thought it was her relatives until someone called and told the family that a person who they thought was her brother was at the Port Mourant Mortuary.
Bahadur noted that Sheriff would normally spend two to three weeks up the river. For the last four months, she added, he had been assisting Bender to traverse up and down river.

The families of Plass and Bender declined to speak to the media. They said they were too distraught and traumatised to speak about the incident.
A woman identified as the mother and wife of the Shaquille and Shondell Plass and also as the sister of Bender, respectively was present at the New Amsterdam harbour when the boy’s body was brought to land. At that point, she began to sob uncontrollably.

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