Police yesterday said that Constable Dorwin Pitman, who was discovered dead while chasing after a prisoner in North Sophia, died as a result of cardiac arrest.
The finding came after a post-mortem examination but did little to shake members of Pitman’s family from the view that there was more to his death, especially since he had no burns and marks on his body suggested that he was beaten.
It is believed that Pitman, 23, of North Road, went into cardiac arrest after he came into contact with an illegal live wire.
According to medical sources, cardiac arrest can occur without warning and is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). It results in the pumping action being disrupted and as such the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. A person can die within minutes of cardiac arrest if he/she does not receive medical attention.
But members of Pitman’s family said that his body bore no burns, which would have suggested that he was electrocuted as is being suggested. They also said he had a small cut to his nose and a very suspicious wound to the back of his head, while his shirt was “rolled up” and covered with mud.
Stacy Pitman said that while she was not allowed to witness the post-mortem examination, after it was completed a police rank told her that her son died from a heart attack. A heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest.
But said she could not accept the finding because he never “ever trouble with no sickness” and she repeatedly stressed that he was very healthy.
The grieving woman, who said that she last spoke with her son on Sunday night before he left for work, knew very little about the circumstances surrounding his death. “He was healthy. He was happy,” she said, while noting that before he left home he promised that he would call her during the night.
Police had said on Monday that at around 7:30am, Pitman went to the lock-ups at the Prashad Nagar Outpost to feed prisoners. The release said that while he was handing out meals, Akeem Edwards, who was in the lock-ups for possession of narcotics and was scheduled for make his court appearance later in the day, pushed him down and ran.
According to the police, Pitman and another rank gave chase behind Edwards and Pitman was subsequently found in the alleyway. There was no visible sign of injury, the police had said.
A resident told this newspaper that the electricity suddenly went off and they went in search of the man who usually does their connections. It was while looking for the person that they stumbled on the body of the policeman. The resident said that they had to use a piece of wood to “hit off” a piece of electrical wire which was wrapped around Pitman’s foot. The resident noted that the alleyway where the policeman was found was bushy and the illegal electrical wires could be easily hidden.
The alleyway where Pitman’s body was found is located behind the St. Stanislaus farm and from all indications Edwards, knew the area well.
According to Stacy Pitman, she plans to raise her concerns about her son’s death when she meets with police officials today. She would not speculate about whether her son was murdered. “I feel that there is something more than that but nobody is not telling me,” she said, while adding that she will never forget her son as “he is the whole world to me.”
His cousin, Latacy Lily, however, said that she strongly believes that there was more to his death. “We think that they beat him because even if Dorwin get shock, when we go and we see this boy, like he was in a fight,” she said, while adding that how his shirt was found was disturbing. Lily said his shirt was covered with mud and his mouth had sand.
The grief-stricken young woman said that it would seem to her that Pitman was killed and the body placed in the alley and the wire thrown over it to make it look as though he was executed.
She said that there was a wound at the back of the young policeman’s head, which was consistent with a blow to his head. “He so young and he got to go and leave he children,” an emotional Lily told this newspaper.
Pitman was a father of two.
He left home late on Sunday because he was waiting to see his three-year-old, who had gone to spend time with another grandmother. He left home without seeing the child.
His mother could not recall Pitman expressing any fears of being in the police force. She noted that he had always wanted to be in the military but joined the police force after he was unsuccessful in gaining entry into the army.
The Guyana Police Force will be taking care of the funeral expenses. Pitman will be taken back to his native Essequibo for burial on Monday.