Relatives slam police for poor investigations in rape/murder of nonagenarian

Relatives of 90-year-old Millicent Prince-Cummings, who was beaten to death and raped in April, say that it is because of poor police work that the perpetrator/s are still walking free but they are confident that one day they will get justice.

The woman’s nephew Quinn Prince told Stabroek News recently that there has been no new information from the police. The man said the last bit of information he had received was that the samples taken were sent overseas for DNA testing, but police are still awaiting the results.

Prince said they were told that the samples would go to the US and a police officer had to accompany them, therefore the police were waiting for samples to accumulate.

Millicent Prince-Cummings
Millicent Prince-Cummings

Crime Chief Seelall Persaud had told this newspaper that the force was looking for funding to sending the samples taken from several men who were detained overseas. He had said that they were looking at labs in the US as opposed to those in the Caribbean because of their past experiences where results took a long time to come back.

Prince told Stabroek News that he is surprised at the pace of the investigation especially since Cove and John is a close community. “So we should have gotten somewhere by now. I think it is all bad police work,” he said.

He explained that the investigators, “would have gotten somewhere” if they had a tracker dog. He said he was only told sometime after the incident had occurred that the force’s tracker dog had died.

The man told Stabroek News the tracker dog would have been important because the animal would have been able to trace blood evidence. He said the entire scene was covered with blood and he was certain that those who are responsibly would have still had blood on their hands and bodies when they fled. “A dog would have done great job here,” he said.

He said when he first inquired about the absence of the dog, he was told that the ranks who had journeyed from Georgetown did not know what they would find when they got there. He said that when he raised the issue with the crime chief for the East Coast Division, it was then it was revealed to him that the force had no tracker dog.

“I would like the police to step up their investigative skills,” the man said adding that detectives must have at least a sound university education and a background in forensics. He said persons who “just come into the force” should not be placed in this department.

A senior police source told this newspaper that there are no leads for the police to work on in the case. The source stressed that ranks are still investigating the matter. “It is still open. We are still looking for any possible leads,” the source said adding that although “junkies” were picked up investigators were unable to get any useful information out of them.

Three men?
When asked if he believed more than one person committed the act, Prince said that different things come to mind. Based on what he was told it appeared that three men were involved. According to him, a bus driver had recalled passing three men standing with the elderly woman on the road side near the house where she was later found dead. He said the driver went to the gas station at the Victoria and when he passed back the three men and the woman were not there.

Based on this explanation it would appear that by then the trio had dragged the woman beneath the abandoned house and were already beating and raping her. Prince said that about five minutes would have elapsed from the time the driver passed to when he passed back.

He opined that the persons living in the yard where the house was located must have knowledge of something. “I know she was a tough person and she would have fought back. She is that strong,” he said. The man added that it “wasn’t an easy struggle. The evidence was there. She must have made noise.”

He said his dead aunt’s body bore evidence of the beating. He said the woman was badly beaten in the stomach and she had a broken jaw, which had to be “propped up to fix back her face” for the funeral.

He said that based on what he knows the police never found the murder weapon. They had picked up a piece iron but from the looks of it, that was not connected to the crime.

But he expressed certainty that he will get justice. “I have that faith,” he said adding that his sister, who resembles Prince-Cummings and also walks and talks like her, has constant nightmares. “Things will be revealed. Nothing don’t stay down like that forever,” he said.

Prince said the death had been hard on the family and he intends to pursue the matter to finality.

“There are too many unsolved crimes. The police ain’t doing good work,” he said adding that it is possible that the act could have been committed by anyone and not necessarily a drug addict.

A pattern
Meanwhile, a source told this newspaper that a man who was known to rape women was among those who were detained for the murder but he was subsequently released. The source said the man was again detained after he was fingered in the attempted rape of a woman in Victoria.

The source explained that he turned himself in with a lawyer and denied any involvement in the incident. The source said the man was detained because “people call he name. He is known to do things like that especially to the elderly.” The source said that he did so many years ago when he broke into a house at Victoria and raped an elderly woman. The source said the woman’s husband pleaded with him not to kill her and he was attacked with a piece of wood. During that ordeal, the source said no one died. However, the elderly woman’s husband died sometime later.

The source said that recently the suspect attempted to break into a home in Victoria where a woman lived. “He made an attempt at her. So they hold he again,” the source said.

According to the source, it is surprising that the police have been unable to make any headway in the case.

Prince-Cummings, a mother of one, was found beneath the house around 05:30 hrs on April 12 with her head bashed in. She was exposed from her waist down. A post-mortem examination later revealed that she had been sexually assaulted and that she sustained blunt trauma to the head.

A condom packet, believed to be linked to the crime and which was found close to the body, is at the police crime lab. It is unclear if this will also be sent abroad for DNA testing.
From all indications, the woman was attacked shortly after she left her home located on the public road at Cove and John, East Coast Demerara. At the time she was going on one of her usual early morning walks. She was heading in the direction of Victoria and could have been attacked as she passed the abandoned house. It is believed that she was dragged beneath the building which is located next to a cemetery.

Neighbours did not recall hearing anything suspicious prior to the gruesome discovery.

It was a man who resided at a back house who discovered the woman while on his way out of the yard. At the time he was on his way to work. The man and other persons who occupied his home (the back house) were detained and questioned for several hours before being released.

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