Police Commissioner (ag) Leroy Brumell described the circumstances surrounding the death of a 31-year-old mother of three as suspicious even as the suspect in the woman’s demise remained in police custody up to late yesterday afternoon.
Vanessa Seeram’s lifeless body was discovered by her husband, a truck driver, in their De Hoop, Mahaica, East Coast Demerara (ECD) home with a belt tied tightly around her neck around 23:00hrs on Saturday.
The woman’s husband, who has since been taken into custody by police, had claimed that that Seeram likely took her own life as a result of a recent dispute between the two. According to their 15-year-old son, his father said that on returning home from work he went straight to the latrine before going upstairs. The man reportedly told his son that when he was finished, he noticed that the lights of the house were all off and he called out to his youngest son because he was concerned.
He said he went upstairs and called out for his four-year-old son but got no response. The boy was eventually discovered by his father between a mattress. The boy’s older brother said that when he asked the four-year-old why he was between a mattress “he seh is mommy put he deh”.
The man then reportedly left with relatives and his older son and returned with the police. Witnesses present when the police arrived though, said that the police dealt with harshly with Seeram’s husband and his son when they arrived. A police officer reportedly dealt the 15-year-old a slap to his face then later apologised, saying he mistook for the boy for his father. The police then reportedly turned on the boy’s father after he inquired which the officer slapped his son. The man was allegedly hit several times about his face and side.
Stabroek News visited the Mahaica Police Station to substantiate these claims but was told that the officers who handled the case were not there.
The woman’s daughter, 13, said she was unaware of what could have led to her mother’s death. She explained that when she had left home around 6:15 that very afternoon, her mother was washing dishes and all seemed well.
The man’s theory was supported by a few of his relatives who said that the woman had attempted suicide once before. Seeram’s daughter yesterday said that about four years ago her mother, while under the influence of alcohol, had doused herself with kerosene and set herself on fire. The woman’s older son had reportedly saved her life by dousing her with water. The boy said his mother made the attempt on her life after an argument with her husband.
The woman had also reportedly held on to her husband’s truck as he was driving away, injuring her arm. The woman allegedly wanted to take a drive in the truck, a request which was refused by her husband. The woman’s daughter said her father attempted to drive away after an argument broke out but her mother held on to the vehicle which led to her injury.
According to the man’s sister, Seeram frequently imbibed alcohol and behaved in a disturbing manner once under the influence. “She was an alright girl but all ah duh used to change when she drink,” the sister-in-law said.
Two of Seeram’s children also said that their mother indeed caused a lot conflict when she drank. They also stated that while their parents had been involved in previous altercations, their father had always left the house when they escalated.
The woman’s relatives, however, upon hearing the news, were and remain suspicious of the circumstances of her death. Seeram was discovered in a sitting position with one end of a belt tied around her neck and the other end tied around a wooden component of a nearby bed. Questions as to whether or not the woman could have taken her own life in such a posture have arisen and remain.
The police commissioner also seems to believe that the woman’s husband’s explanation of what lead to her death may not be valid. Brumell, speaking to Stabroek News yesterday, said the way in which the woman was found has aroused the suspicion of the police. Brumell also said that another part of the man’s explanation was questionable. The man reportedly told police that he was in the latrine for approximately 25 minutes before going upstairs and Brumell said it was hard to believe that he would have been in there so long.
The woman’s daughter yesterday said that while she was trying to cope as best as she could with her mother’s passing it was very difficult. The young girl said that she had lost consciousness at least 15 times since learning of her mother’s death on Saturday evening.
A post-mortem examination was to be carried out on the woman’s body today, but has been postponed to Wednesday. The woman’s brother-in-law explained that he needed Seeram’s identification card to acquire the necessary documents needed to complete the procedure. However, police have instructed the family not to return to the house until their investigations have been completed.
The man said he plans to visit the Mahaica Police Station to ask permission to go get the documents. He also said that he needs to retrieve some of the children’s clothes since they are now staying with him and have nothing to wear.