Mahaica fruit vendor dies from multiple stabs

-money reportedly taken, jewellery left untouched

Fareez Yassem

A 36-year-old fruit vendor was stabbed to death early yesterday morning during what appears to be a robbery at his Mahaica house and the police have since arrested a man for questioning.

Dead is Fareez Yassem, a father of three of Lot 25 Belmont, Mahaica. He reportedly sustained around fifteen stab wounds about his body.
The incident occurred around 1.45am.

The police in a brief press statement said that an investigation has been launched into the murder of Yassem, whose body was found in a northern drain in his yard.
Several calls made by this newspaper to Divisional Commander Edmond Cooper for an update went unanswered.
However, a police source related to Stabroek News that Yassem’s death is being investigated as a robbery/murder.

Yassem’s house. The yard was cordoned off as a crime scene yesterday

The source said a pair of slippers and a bicycle were recovered at the crime scene and that a man was detained for questioning yesterday. He remained in custody up to last evening.
When this newspaper visited the scene yesterday, Yassem house was tightly secured.

A section of the yard from the gate was cordoned off and spots of blood could be seen on a tree close to where his body was discovered and in parts of the yard.
His wife Davie Yassem was at the Mahaica Police Station providing investigators with a statement. She was accompanied by several relatives.

The drain inside Fareez Yassem yard where he was discovered.

Yassem’s death has left his entire family circle and community in a state of shock.
Farah Yassem, his eldest sister related to Stabroek News that based on what she was told, Davie and her children were asleep when the incident unfolded.
She said from all indications, her brother knew his attacker/s. According to Farah,

Fareez’s sales money from Sunday was missing. She also said although he was wearing several pieces of jewellery at the time of his death, they were all found intact.
Farah said while details surrounding her brother’s death remain unclear, it is suspected that he woke up and ventured to the lower flat of his house to use the washroom.

While there, she said he must have heard a strange noise and investigated and was then stabbed.
“All she (Davie) hear him saying was ‘ow bai, ow bai’ like when he was getting the actual stabbing”, Farah said.

It was this sound she said that awoke Davie. “She was calling for him and screaming because after she called two three times and she not hearing him respond, she start screaming and calling for him. Now she don’t want to come outside, she was in the house, by time the wife is to come outside, her husband was already dead in a puddle of mud”, she explained.

Farah said her family is puzzled as to what was the motive of the attack since her brother was a peaceful individual who didn’t have any issue with anyone.
She added that she saw pictures of her brother’s body which showed that he sustained about fifteen to eighteen stab wounds to his body including his chest, back and neck.

The weeping sister related to this newspaper that she and her brother shared a very close relationship and they would communicate often. “That was my loving brother. We call, we communicate with each other, we regularly would have conversations”, she said.

“He was so happy. They (Fareez and Davie) was so happy, we does call them the love birds because they just work, they are a power couple”, she added.
Davie had called her neighbour Onika Wilson for assistance to locate her husband during the time that the stabbing was believed to be occurring.

Wilson explained to Stabroek News yesterday that she received a call from Davie who told her that she was calling out for Yassem but was not getting any answer. “She (Davie) told me she husband (Fareez) go downstairs and she aint getting he, she calling and he not answering”, Wilson said.

She said as a result, she woke her husband and they both went into their yard and watched over Davie, who she told to check for Fareez in the yard. “So me and meh husband come outside to give an eye leh she come outside and call to see if he deh in the yard”, Wilson noted.

“We stand up right hay suh (in their yard) so she wouldn’t be so frighten. So I call for her and I tell she come by the door and call for he (Fareez) and when she call fuh he, she seh she aint getting no responses”, she explained.

She said it was then that Davie made the discovery. “I heard her screaming from over here. So I call her back on the phone and ask her what happen and she seh somebody juk him up”, she added.
Fareez was already dead.
The woman said she did not heard any strange noise that may have alerted her that something was wrong.

Another resident said “When we got there, we just saw him lying motionless. He get tremendous stab up man, terrible, they cruel this boy, like all over”, she said.

“We are not sure about what really happen. Everybody want to know what happen but the garage door was open and the money he had downstairs was gone, we find he outside this morning and all his jewellery was on”, the woman related, while noting, “so these people came, they took the money and left all the jewellery. So we just left baffled right now”.

Yassem had plied his trade on the Mahaicony Public Road in front of a supermarket while Davie sells at the Mahaica market. He would have celebrated his birthday tomorrow.

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