Failure to charge suspect in taxi-driver’s murder fuels family’s doubt about investigation

Police lack sufficient evidence to charge the prime suspect in the murder of taxi driver Balram Jadoonauth and his family believes that had investigators worked harder from the beginning and paid attention to certain details, they would have been able to build a strong case.

Just over a year after Jadoonauth, 24, was shot dead in front of his Dennis Street, Campbellville home, there is still the strong belief that he was killed because he made a decision to end a relationship with a woman, who was apparently already in a relationship with another man.  This man is the one who it is suspected pulled the trigger on April 15, 2012.

Balram Jadoonauth
Balram Jadoonauth

Police officials told Stabroek News that while information was provided about the suspect and his possible motive for killing Jadoonauth, there was insufficient evidence to charge him. The suspect was arrested at the Cheddi Jagan Inter-national Airport, Timehri hours after the shooting.

According to a police source, ranks had a difficult task from the beginning as the shooting happened at 3.30 in the morning, when the area was dark. Added to that, the source said there was no one who came forward as a witness to the murder and there is nothing to place the suspect at the scene of the crime.

Asked about the fact that the man was found at the airport hours after the murder, the official said that this was suspicious and only that since there was no incriminating evidence.

However, the source pointed to the fact that investigators could have done a lot more ground work to ensure some of the outstanding questions were answered. The official said that ballistic evidence is also something that could have provided some clues.

Following the shooting, Jadoonauth’s relatives had told Stabroek News that the suspect had once attempted to shoot Jadoonauth. The official could not say if the ranks assigned to the case had investigated this but noted that if it wasn’t, that was a major failing on their part. It was also noted that with so much time gone, it would be difficult for there to be a breakthrough unless someone comes forward with some strong evidence.

A close relative of Jadoonauth, who requested that her name be withheld, told Stabroek News that the family has heard nothing new about the case. The relative said that although things look bleak, members of Jadoonauth’s family are “religious minded people” and believe that one day the truth will be revealed and that they would get the justice they desire. “The scriptures still give us some hope,” the relative said adding that Jadoonauth’s father would usually check in with the police but each time there would be no new information. “Getting evidence is the problem,” she said, adding that this is apparently stalling things for the police.

The woman recounted that she received a call that he was involved in an accident and was at the hospital. She said that after being shot, Jadoonauth crashed into a lantern post, a short distance away from his home and when he was rushed to the hospital doctors were under the impression that he was in an accident.

Stabroek News was told that it was after he had died and the relatives examined his body that they noticed a small bullet wound. The relative stressed that up until that point, nobody knew that he had been shot.

The relative emphasised the need for forensic science to be used in crime solving as is done overseas. As a result of how the investigation has gone, she said that her family has lost confidence in the police.

Asked whether Jadoonauth’s phone records had been checked, she said that police had told them that they could not get access to them. The ranks, she said, had explained to then they had approached one of the two local phone companies and there were some difficulties in accessing the information. From all indication, the police opted not to pursue this part of the investigation any further. The relative, however, was adamant that the phone records could have helped.

She also disputed media reports that Jadoonauth was killed as a result of being in a triangular relationship. The relative said that before he died, Jadoonauth revealed certain things to his family and took a decision to end the relationship with the woman. The woman, it was later discovered, was known to be involved in other relationships. While she and the suspect in the murder are still reportedly together, this newspaper was told that she started a relationship with the young taxi driver with the full knowledge of her partner.

Jadoonauth had already broken off the relationship with the woman when he was killed. He was a part-time taxi driver who was finishing off studies in business management with the hope of one day owning his own business.

Whenever passing the spot where Jadoonauth was shot, his relative said she tries not to think about the murder or him. “Nothing can bring him back. Nobody deserves to die like this,” she noted, while adding that his parents are still grieving.

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