Man who had phone contact with teacher arrested as murder probe widens

-autopsy confirms fatal beating

Kescia Branche

Another man was yesterday arrested by the police as the probe into the death of school teacher Kescia Branche widened, while an autopsy confirmed that she died of injuries sustained in a beating.

The arrest brought the total number of persons in custody to four. In addition to the man who was held yesterday, Branche’s ex-partner, with whom she shares a child, and two police constables were also held. Two other police ranks are also being questioned as part of the probe.

A source close to the investigation informed Stabroek News that yesterday’s arrest was made after investigators trace a telephone number that Branche was in contact with on several occasions in the hours prior to the discovery of her body.

“Further investigation has unearthed that Branche was in contact with a male on several occasions via cell phone in the early hours of that morning prior to being discovered,” the police said in a statement yesterday.

The suspect was identified and picked up in Georgetown yesterday.

Meanwhile, a post-mortem examination conducted by Government Pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh yesterday morning revealed that Branche had died as a result of brain haemorrhaging and blunt trauma to the brain.

Branche, 22, a mother of one and a teacher at Richard Ishmael Secon-dary School, was found next to a coconut tree along the cemetery road from Louisa Row, Georgetown, obliquely opposite the cemetery office, sometime around 5 am on Sunday morning. She succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday afternoon in the Intensive Care Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital.

She had sustained head injuries and a broken foot. The doctor who treated her told her family that the head injuries appeared to be consistent with blows to the head.

Branche was seen leaving the Blue Martini nightclub on Upper Lamaha Street in Newtown, last Saturday night in the company of two on-duty constables. After leaving the nightclub, the trio had ventured to a barbeque spot on Mandela Avenue.

While waiting on their order, one of the constables reportedly told investigators that he left to use the washroom and when he returned he did not see Branche. When he asked his colleague, who had remained with her, about her whereabouts, he was told that she had left with a taxi.

Branche’s ex-partner was taken into custody on Thursday afternoon. He reportedly had Branche’s cell phone in his possession.