Family of suspected Wales fire victim still awaiting DNA results after one year

After a year, the family of Elvin Ceres is still awaiting the results of a DNA test to confirm his death so the remains believed to be his can be buried.

Today will mark a year since the charred remains of a man, suspected to be that of Ceres, were found following a fire at a Wales house.

It was previously reported that Ceres, 43, of Timehri, East Bank Demerara, went missing on June 30, 2016, the day the fire occurred. It was stated that his family suspected the body to be his, because he had been employed by the owner of the house for a number of years.

In July last year, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum had indicated that samples were taken from the body and would be tested to determine whether it was indeed Ceres’.

However, Ceres’ mother, Sheila Yorrick, and his wife, Jennifer Williams, told Stabroek News that they have been getting the runaround ever since.

Elvin Ceres

“It hard, it really hard. And it just ripping you up, yuh know, that this is you family. This is the person that he was and this is how he is and you want to put he away. Put he where he supposed to be and it can’t happen,” Williams lamented.

While the two are of the view that Ceres’ death was due to malicious circumstances and Williams called for a deeper investigation into the matter, their main concern remains retrieving Ceres’ body for the sake of burial and closure.

“All I want is me son body fuh bury…Anything could happen after,” Yorrick emphasised.

The woman expressed her dissatisfaction with the state of the body she was shown when she visited the funeral parlour weeks after the fire. It had differed significantly in appearance from when it was viewed following the post-mortem examination.

Photographs of the bodies at those intervals showed that it had significantly decreased in mass and was barely recognisable as a human form.

Yorrick opined that if the body was being stored properly, it would not be in that state and she also questioned whether the body belonged to her son. “This is wah I goh live with every day,” the grieving woman stated.

Williams related that Ceres was a father to five, including minors, and questioned what the children were to be told about the circumstances of the situation.

Alluding to the security of those children, Williams noted that without confirmation of an identity, no death certificate could be issued, without which transactions cannot occur on behalf of the deceased.

Last year, Guyana Fire Service’s Operations Manager Compton Sparman had told this newspaper that based on the uncertainties surrounding the discovery of the body, the police force was called in to conduct investigations, as foul play was suspected. He noted that grillwork on the house might have been the reason why the person was unable to escape from the building.

At the time of the fire, the house was unoccupied since the owner, Elizabeth Sattaur, resides at Timehri.

Sattaur had said the fire was electrical in origin, based on accounts given to her by neighbours. She had said neighbours told her there was a blackout and when the power returned, the utility post with the line to her house was sparking.

Ceres’ brother had told Stabroek News that the deceased was employed by Sattaur for about 10 years doing jobs such as plumbing, electrical installations and even security work, and that he maintained the Wales house and would often sleep there.

Sattaur admitted that Ceres was once employed with her, but she said she subsequently rented the business and he continued to work for the tenants.

A post-mortem examination performed on the charred remains revealed that the individual died from suffocation due to inhalation of smoke.

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