Cove and John woman, 91, found battered to death

– rape suspected

The battered body of an elderly woman was discovered early yesterday morning beneath an abandoned house along the public road at Cove and John, East Coast Demerara and it is believed that she was beaten to death and sexually assaulted.

When the body of Millicent Prince-Cummings, called ‘Baby Prince,’ of Lot 4 Cove and John—who would have celebrated her 91st birthday in nine days—was found, it was nude from the waist down.

Millicent Prince-Cummings
Millicent Prince-Cummings

Crime Chief Seelall Persaud, while not ruling out rape, said investigators are awaiting the results of a post-mortem examination. He confirmed that when Prince-Cummings was found, she was not wearing any underwear.

According to Persaud, a suspect is yet to be arrested as investigators are trying to ascertain a motive for the murder.

Police said in a press release that the body was found around 5:50am with marks of violence to the head.  The location where she was found is a short distance from her home.

When Stabroek News arrived at the scene, which is near a cemetery, the police had cordoned off the area and were inside conducting investigations. The spot where the woman was found lying was visible; water had been used to wash away the blood. The abandoned house is located at the front of the yard. It was an occupant of the house at the back who made the gruesome discovery. At the time the man was heading out of the yard on his way to work.

A neighbour, to whom this newspaper spoke, said she heard nothing unusual during the course of the night. She said that when she awakened sometime before six yesterday morning, she saw police and people standing on the roadway. It was then, she said, that she was informed that Baby Prince was found beneath the abandoned house. The woman, while noting that Prince-Cummings took daily walks in the area, said the incident came as a great shock to her, since crimes, particularly sexual assaults and robberies, are not common in the area.

Relatives gathered at the woman’s home and they too expressed shock at the manner in which she died. A nephew, who asked not to be named, said the elderly woman was the former cook of the late president LFS Burnham. He explained that his aunt, who he described as very agile, usually took early morning walks. The man said that from looking at the body, it appeared as though she was badly beaten and it was suspected that she was raped during the attack.

As he reminisced about her, he said that despite them not wanting her to cook because of her age, she still insisted on doing certain things for herself.

The crime scene: It is believed that Millicent Prince-Cummings was dragged beneath the house from the roadway and sexually assaulted before being beaten to death.
The crime scene: It is believed that Millicent Prince-Cummings was dragged beneath the house from the roadway and sexually assaulted before being beaten to death.

Meanwhile, a niece, Denise Dublin, told Stabroek News that she last saw her aunt on Easter Monday while she was heading to Victoria, which is the neighbouring village. The woman said she had received a phone call from someone who said Prince-Cummings “get knock down and dead.” Shortly after, she received a second phone call in which she was told that her aunt was “raped and killed.”

She described the murder of Prince-Cummings as “just sick,” while noting that the woman was frail; just skin and bones.

Dublin called on the police to work hard to find the killer and pointed out that the person was brazen enough to commit the act close to a police station. The woman house’s is located between the police station and the abandoned house. That, she said, showed “how sick” the perpetrator was.

According to Dublin, her aunt’s only child, a son, was “up the highway” and as such she was in the house alone. She said that at no point did the elderly woman express fear of being alone or walking unaccompanied early in the morning.

Over the years a number of elderly women have been attacked and murdered. The one of the latest was Bebe Jahooral Banu, whose body was found on January 1 last year at her Lot 5A De Willem North, West Coast Demerara bottom flat apartment, with her stockings, pants and underwear pulled below her knees, her top pulled up to her shoulders and a piece of cloth around her neck. She was 66 years old. This case remains unsolved.